Texas Veterans Commission awards $3.1 Million to twelve non-profit organizations in S.A.

The ceremony took place at SAMMinistries’ Transitional Living and Learning Center, 5922 Blanco Rd. SAMMinistries received $800,000 to help veterans stay in their homes through their home prevention program. (Photo, Nathaly Cruz)

On Wed. Sept. 6, twelve non-profit organizations were awarded a total of $3.1 million dollars in grant funding from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance at SAMMinistries’ Transitional Living and Learning Center, 5922 Blanco Rd.

The 12 non-profit organizations that received grant awards from the Texas Veterans Commission are, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) – $300,000, American GI Forum – $300,000, Catholic Charities – San Antonio – $300,000, Operation Comfort – $200,000, Project MEND – $250,000, Salvation Army – San Antonio – $300,000, SAMMinistries – $300,000 (in a General Assistance grant) $500,000 (Veteran Homelessness Prevention programs), Southwest Area Regional Transit – $200,000, Operation Finally Home – $75,000, Bexar County – $200,000 , Comal County – $75,000 and Marriage Management Consultants – $100,000.

In an interview with one of the awardees, SAMMinistries’ President and CEO Navarra Williams explained the importance of this award and how the money will be used.

“Today SAMMinistries and other organizations were awarded funds to help homeless veterans from the Texas Veterans Association. SAMMinistries received $800,000 to help veterans stay in their homes through our home prevention program,” Williams explained. “By paying their back rent or paying their utilities, if they were going to be evicted or their utilities disconnected, veterans and their families can stay in their homes.”

Last year SAMMinistries assisted around 550 veterans to stay in their homes or get them off the street. According to Williams, this year they were awarded about $300,000 more dollars and expect to help 700 families.

SAMMinistries will utilize the award to continue the Veterans’ Housing Stability Program which provides eligible San Antonio veterans, their dependents, and surviving spouses with financial assistance for utilities, rent/mortgage, food, and transportation to help those families obtain or maintain stable housing and self-sufficiency.

SAMinistires’ CEO concluded the interview by talking about how the veterans and their families our selected are relieved after being selected. “Once we have interviewed the veteran and we can tell them we can help they are relieved and very thankful; they didn’t realize this kind of opportunity existed,” Williams concluded.

SAMMinistries is an interfaith ministry that helps the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless attain self-sufficiency by offering shelter, housing, and services. For more information, please call (210) 340-0302 or visit our website at www.samm.org.

For Salvation Army this is their consecutive year being awarded. In order to be considered again by the Texas Veterans Commission, Salvation Army had to meet a benchmark of 100 percent, which Salvation Army exceeded by 50 percent. With the $300,000 grant they plan on aiding 100 families but depending on the number of household that number can elevate to 500 persons.

Salvation Army’s Director of Social Services Robert Gallon, in an interview with La Prensa explained how they are going to use the grant.

“Our main objective with this grant is prevention. We are trying to keep veterans out of the homeless system; the homeless system is already flooded. We are trying to keep our veterans housed. With this grant we will be able to assist with utilities (electricity and water), rental assistance and transportation. Lastly to ensure that we they are done with our financial services they are in a better place than when they started,” Gallon explained.

The Fund for Veterans’ Assistance grant program was established in 2007 by the 80th Legislature and funded in late 2009.  The program awards reimbursement grants in four categories: General Assistance, Housing4TexasHeroes, Veterans Mental Health, and Veterans Treatment Court Grants.

These grants offer funding to non-profit and local government organizations, which, in turn, provide direct services to Texas Veterans and their families. Since 2009, the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) program has awarded over $55 million in 307 grants to 142 non-profit and local government entities. For more information, visit www.tvc.texas.gov.

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Nathaly Cruz
Nathaly Cruz graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a major in Communication and a minor in Spanish in May 2016. At La Prensa she is a bilingual reporter who enjoys covering the latest news in San Antonio and loves writing about entertainment and soccer.