Helping Our Local Homeless Heroes

The Wichita County veteran community is one step closer to finding help for our local homeless service officers. 

There are an estimated 13,000 veterans living in Wichita County alone. A handful of those vets are homeless. The Wichita County Veteran's Office is joining a nation wide campaign to eliminate homelessness amongst veterans.    

Newschannel 6 crews talked with a homeless vet Thursday. He tell us the county needs more housing options for vets in need.

Joe Welch, a local army veteran says he has been homeless for about two years now and has not been able to land a job. His only options for housing is Faith Mission or Salvation Army. Welch says if there were more options he would utilize them to get back on his feet.

Help may be on the way for Texoma's homeless veterans. Joe welch, a local homeless vet has come a long way, but now struggles to keep a roof over his head. He was thrilled to hear that Wichita County could soon be bringing assistance to service heroes like him.     

Welch comments, "I think it's a good deal. Especially for homeless veterans because they need a little help. There not in corners of the community, there's homeless people all over."

The Wichita County Veteran's Office has applied for a $500,000 grant from the Texas Veteran Commission to provide funding to cover the basic needs of veterans, starting with housing.

Tim Shatto, a Veterans Employment Representative says, "Hopefully with this grant that will enable the vet community to better take care of other vets through the money we get."

Tim Shatto says there are a handful of programs in the area to assist veterans, but if you do not take care of their first basic needs it is difficult to get them back on the right track. "The security, the comfort of the home, the ability to carry your own key, and have a roof over your head. All that is going to build upon those needs."

And building and bringing back the confidence in these heroes is their goal. Veteran Joe Welch says the help would be greatly appreciated. "I think it would be great if they can get it started and get it going. I don't think they'd have a shortage of veterans that would want to utilize it."

Tim Shatto says there is a great need for veteran assistance in this area. Right now Wichita County falls under the Oklahoma City VA health care system. There is a local VA clinic in Wichita Falls, but if a vet needs further assistance they would need to drive over two hours to get the help.

The Wichita County Veteran's Office will know by early January if they were selected for the $500,000 Veterans Assistance Grant.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6