The Hays County Veterans Service Office and the Hays County Veterans Treatment Court received grant funding from the Texas Veterans Commission during a ceremony on Wednesday. Above, Texas Veterans Commission Chairwoman Laura Koerner presents Hays County Veterans Treatment Court Judge Chris Johnson and County Judge Ruben Becerra with a check for $300K. Below, Koerner gives Hope4 Hays Case Manager Cheryl Robinson and Hays County Veteran Services Officer Jude Prather a check for $100K. Daily Record photos by Nick Castillo
Helping Veterans: 2 Hays County programs granted funding from Texas Veterans Commission
Two Hays County veterans programs were presented with grant funding from the Texas Veterans Commission on Wednesday.
TVC presented “big checks” to 32 programs from across Central Texas, including the Hays County Veterans Service Office and Hays County Veterans Treatment Court, at a ceremony inside the Hays County Government Center. TVC offers grants in five different categories — general assistance, housing for Texas heroes, veteran mental health grant, veteran treatment courts and veteran county service offices funding. TVC has awarded $168 million in grant funding to nonprofit and local government organizations between 2009 and 2020.
“Let us remember that everyone is charged with the responsibility of caring for those who serve,” Texas Veterans Commission Chairwoman Laura Koerner said. “We recognize now more than ever how critical it is to help our veterans and their families in Texas. Therefore, I want to sincerely thank each of our award recipients for the services that you provide for our veterans and their families.”
TVC will be awarding 147 grants this year, totaling $33.4 million. The veterans commission awarded $6.8 million to organizations in the Central Texas region. The Hays County Veterans Service Office was granted a $100,000 General Assistance grant, which will provide financial assistance services for veterans, dependents and surviving spouses in Hays County.
Hope4 Hays Case Manager Cheryl Robinson said it's amazing to receive the grant funding from TVC.
“It helps keep veterans off the streets,” Robinson said. “It helps them to pay their utilities and mortgages and rent payments. Also, because we’ve expanded it, we can pay car insurance, car payments, cell phone bills, internet to keep them in touch with their families or if they’re looking for a job. We can pay some auto-repair bills in order to get their cars ready for inspection so that they’re safer on the streets. (The grant helps) to reach out and do anything that we can to help the vets.”
Added Hays County Veteran Services Officer Jude Prather: “Two words that never belong in the same sentence: homeless and veteran. And programs like this help prevent our veterans from ending up on the streets.”
The Hays County Veterans Treatment Court received a $300,000 Veterans Treatment Court grant, which will help fund treatment court services for veterans across three counties within the Central Texas region.
Veterans Treatment Court Judge Chris Johnson said the grant funding from TVC is the court’s lifeblood.
“This funding really does drive the court,” Johnson said. “We have the money to do what it is we try to do, what it is we are actually bound to do, what our mission is, because of this money. With this money, what I can do is pay my staff, which is the best veterans court treatment staff you’re going to find anywhere in the land. They have training. They have experience that the general public does not have. They then also have connections with and know how to help veterans access private health care that generally the public doesn’t get.”
Johnson added that it’s important for the community to know that the Hays County Veterans Treatment Court exists.
“It’s a unique opportunity to help those people who were there for us no matter what the price that they had to pay,” Johnson said. “So, for me, it’s important to give back and for our community to be able to give back, and for the court system itself to recognize their unique injuries and their unique needs, and also, their unique service and their unique contribution.”