At 34 years old, John should have been in the prime of his life. Instead, he was living on the streets of San Antonio. His military background and previous experience of not having a home allowed him to survive those streets. But he wanted more – he wanted his life back.
This disabled Army veteran and San Antonio native was familiar with the services and resources available in his hometown. But getting a case manager to return a call could take a month or longer.
When he made his way to San Marcos in January of this year, he knew how to find those same types of services. It didn’t take long to find the Hays County Veterans Services Office (VSO), which operates out of the Hays County Historic Courthouse in downtown San Marcos. He expected the same kind of waiting to get things moving. But his experience was quite different than in his hometown.
“The day after I made the claim, the Hays County VSO had the process started,” he said.
John’s interactions with the county’s veterans’ office continued to impress him.
“Right before the winter freeze in February, someone from the veterans’ office called me about staying in a hotel until the storm passed,” he said. “And if I needed food, they said I could go to the local food pantry.”
He said recent reductions in EBT – Electronic Benefits Transfer – made a food pantry a crucial need not just for veterans but for others in the community.
“The VSO also put me in touch with the San Marcos Housing Authority to apply for a HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) voucher and then [local disaster recover nonprofit] BR3T put me in a hotel until the voucher came through.”
Once the voucher was approved, John said he was in the home stretch.
“I could now afford to pay rent with my social security and live on my own,” he said. “Plus, the VSO provided me with furniture and kitchenware to get me started in my home.”
John couldn’t say enough good things about the Hays County VSO.
“They helped me get stable housing and the other services I needed. I’m so grateful for them,” he said. “If I never found them, I honestly don’t know where I would be right now.”
To the VSO staff he said, “Thank you for helping me find my way home.”
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