We know that finding a homeless veteran a place to live is only the first step in their journey, and that long-term stability and independence is the only true way to end homelessness. The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded Family Eldercare a Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) providing funding that targets formerly homeless veterans who are currently housed, but face significant ongoing challenges that put their housing stability at risk. Check out KXAN’s interview with Family Eldercare client and US Marine Corps Veteran, Russell Moreau, as he talks about how much of a life changing impact supportive services for Veterans have had for him and many others in his situation.
This 2-year grant provides funding for a dedicated case manager who is specifically focused on providing comprehensive support to veterans in need of housing retention. With veteran homelessness effectively ended in Austin, there is a critical need to protect vets who have transitioned into housing from falling back into homelessness and ensuring they have the life skills to thrive independently. Family Eldercare’s case management services will target Central Texas veterans and focus on providing them with independent living skills such as financial management, employment opportunities, educational resources and connection to additional supportive services; ensuring comprehensive care and long-term stability.
This week, September 9-15, 2019, is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week in Texas. In signing the proclamation, Governor Abbott acknowledged that these professional caregivers, who help Texans with disabilities live more independently, are often under-recognized for their work. He’s right, and by supporting efforts to raise the hourly base wage for care attendants, the Governor can demonstrate his commitment to this important workforce. Despite being one of the fastest-growing professions, nationally 1 in 4 home care aids lives below the federal poverty level and more than 50% rely on public benefits. Low wages and minimal benefits leads to high worker turnover, poor quality of care, and unnecessary costs to the state including expensive hospitalization or institutionalization. Governor Abbott should, in his words, recognize the positive impact of these dedicated and trusted caregivers and the significant roles they play in our communities by giving them a fair wage.
Two of Family Eldercare?s most tenured employees, Director of Housing and Community Services, Joyce Hefner, and Senior Money Management Case Manager, Kendra Peters, presented at the Texas Association of Community Action Agencies annual conference this month. Their presentation, exploring the developmental process of aging and providing case management services for elderly clients, highlighted the significant fact that older adults are the only population group to experience an increase in the number of people in poverty. Miss the event? We’ve included the TACAA Presentation slides here to learn more about the topic!
Wilhelmina Delco has been a fixture in the Austin community since she settled here over 60 years ago.? She is a champion for education and credits her mother with instilling this in her, saying, ?My mother felt that education was the only thing nobody could take away from you.?? Wilhelmina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee where she met her husband of 66 years.
She started her involvement in education through her children?s PTA and soon was the first African American elected to public office in Austin, Texas as an at large member of the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees in 1968.? She went on to influence higher education policy as Chair of the House Higher Education Committee and served 20 years in the Texas House of Representatives.? Her election in 1974 was the first time an African American was elected at large in Travis County.? She was also a founding board member of the Board of Trustees of Austin Community College and later taught as an adjunct professor of education at the University of Texas.? She was inducted in to the Texas Women?s Hall of Fame in 1986.
In her portrait, Wilhelmina stands in front of the Texas African American History Memorial on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol that was sculpted by Ed Dwight and depicts Juneteenth.? She is passionate about the symbolism the artist captured in this majestic piece of Texas art.
Wilhelmina remains active today, swimming every morning at the YMCA and traveling with her husband and family.? For the last five years, they?ve enjoyed an annual Soul Train cruise tradition and have already booked their trip for 2020.? She encourages all of us to actively participate in our community saying, ?This grand American experiment with democracy is not immune to prevailing political pressures or the stresses of time. For it to stay intact we must each raise our voice together, be active in our communities, churches and halls of government. This is our democracy ? and we must fight to make it work for each of us. For without liberty and justice for all, there is liberty and justice for none.?
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Photo by Annie Ray – annieraycreative.com; Instagram – @annieraydotnet