LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
Fifty-six-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, originally from Oklahoma, sits in front of something he never thought he would have; a home.
“I walked around and I said “Oh my God,” said Hopkins. “I couldn’t get over it. I just kept saying, “Somebody’s going to slap me to make sure I’m not dreaming.”
It wasn’t a dream. His new reality is a home to call his own. Hopkins is a disabled Navy veteran and was homeless living in the woods in Lake Charles and even sleeping near gas stations.
“I’ve been on a transitional stage for the last 4 or 5 years,” said Hopkins. “Then I met Ashley.”
Ashley Wood of Sulphur is a member of FAITH Ministries, a group dedicated to helping the homeless with medical care and food. She says Hopkin’s Veteran’s Affairs social worker found him an apartment in Oberlin run by the Volunteer of America, and she made sure it was fully furnished just for Hopkins.
“It’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived in my life,” said Hopkins.
As FAITH Ministries continues to help the homeless, they say brining a smile to their face no matter how small the gesture is worth all the hard work.
“Just to bring a smile on their face, bring them a hot meal and make a little bit of their day brighter,” said Wood.
Courtney Deitch, also a member of FAITH Ministries, says connecting with the homeless is one of her favorite parts about the group.
“Visiting with them, getting to spend time with them, getting to know them, listening to their stories,” said Deitch. “They just really fall in love with you.”
As for Hopkins, he says he couldn’t be more grateful.
“I’ll tell God, all day every day since, thank you God,” said Hopkins. “Please bless everybody who had anything to do with this and helping make this happen.”
The apartment is funded by the Volunteers of America organization and Hopkins also receives benefits from the VA. Wood says Hopkins has to follow a set of rules provided by the apartments to continue living there.