TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – The Texas Veterans Commission spent the afternoon recognizing the recipients of seven grants totaling more than $ 1 million in East Texas.

Kimberlee Shaneyfelt is one of the five commissioners of the Texas Veteran Commission and said, “It’s such a small thing, it’s just an effort of a dollar or two, but when you have a lot of it you can see. the power of that with $ 33 million in grants. in 2021 alone and over $ 200 million in grants throughout the history of this program since 2009. ”

The grants range from general assistance to housing and transportation assistance. Today, Smith County Habitat for Humanity was one of the recipients and received $ 150,000 to fund home modifications for veterans and their spouses in seven counties. Jack Wilson, CEO of Smith County Habitat for Humanity, said they started the critical repairs program in 2009.

“We have done over 1,200 essential repairs for our veterans, seniors and people with disabilities, and many of them are our veterans,” Wilson said. “We cannot do what we are doing without the support of donors such as the Texas Veterans Commission. “

Wilson said critical repairs can range from holes in floors or ceilings to other major repairs in homes.

“I went into houses and saw holes in the ground, I saw the ground. Or I saw the roof collapse and I saw the light of day up there, ”Wilson said. “So when that happens and it’s not fixed, the rain comes in, the insulation gets wet, there’s mold growing. We saw people sleeping in other rooms because the rain would come in their rooms.

Wilson said many of them live on Social Security.

“So they have to make a choice between food and medicine and they can’t fix their house. There is nowhere else in Smith County or other organizations doing critical repairs on their homes, ”he said.

The money for today’s grants comes from veterans’ cash lottery tickets as well as vehicle registrations and whether you get a license to hunt or fish. There is a box that asks if you would like to help fund the Texas Veteran Commission.

“That little donation or that lottery ticket that you buy is so powerful when it’s aggregated across the state of Texas,” Shaneyfelt said.

There are about 5,400 veterans getting help among the six organizations that received grants today. For more information on organizations or to receive help, you can visit the following links,

https://www.csntexas.org/vetservices.htm

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