On Saturday, May 20, Affordable Housing Advocate VISTA Jennifer Weatherford rose before the sun and drove the approximately three hours to Texarkana, TX to attend the annual Texarkana Veterans Information Fair. Jennifer’s host agency, Texoma Council of Government’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, acts as a referral agency and advocates to address the needs of the elderly, persons with disabilities, low income individuals and families, homeless and at-risk homeless, and veterans across 12 counties in Northeast Texas. During her time spent at Saturday’s information fair, Jennifer shared crucial information about the ADRC’s available resources to clients who, until then, were not aware of the help TCOG and the ADRC offers. She also identified a supplemental veteran resource and developed a working relationship with a prospective landlord in Texarkana who is eager to begin to develop affordable housing in the area.
AmeriCorps VISTA Jennifer Weatherford has been busy making important organizational connections throughout the 12-county North Texas region Texoma Council of Governments’ (TCOG) Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) serves. Jennifer was invited to attend four Career and Community Resource Expos in the Texoma area. On Tuesday, April 18, Jennifer traveled to Texarkana, TX to represent her agency at the first of many expos. At this function she spoke to dozens of local individuals, many of whom expressed their interest in the services that the ADRC offers. She managed to refer more than 40 veterans and family members of veterans to the ADRC toll-free informational number, and dozens more seniors and primary caregivers received vital information regarding benefits counseling and referral services. Through community connections with housing authorities and community resource expos Jennifer has located several landlords in the Texoma and Texarkana area which are invaluable to the capacity building process. One landlord in particular has expressed generous interest in working closely with TCOG and the ADRC to house low income and disabled individuals in Grayson County. Jennifer intends to work with the landlord and inquire about the availability of 9 additional vacant units in the following months. Jennifer also took the initiative to research and compile a Local Support Services Directory for Grayson, Cooke, and Fannin counties, the major counties which the TCOG serves. This Support Services Directory will not only aid TCOG employees in their referral services, but also serve as a convenient, concise, sustainable directory for locals to take advantage of when searching for local community resources.
Jennifer Weatherford, an Affordable Housing Advocate VISTA serving with the Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG), is creating a sense of coordination and collaboration between the many agencies and resources available to the homeless throughout the north Texoma area. As part of her advocacy for affordable housing, she has been attending monthly homeless and veteran’s coalition meetings to network and develop solutions and strategies to help the homeless overcome barriers to housing. Jennifer is compiling a Public Housing Authority (PHA) master list, which includes all of the PHAs in the 12 county area that TCOG’s Aging and Disability Resource Center serves, their contact information, pertinent information regarding housing preferences, and number of units and/or vouchers attached to the authority. This master list will be updated as new 5-year and Annual Plans are released and will provide invaluable information for housing referrals to neighboring counties. She has also begun the arduous process of organizing a counties-wide resource and informational expo for landlords interested in providing or developing affordable and transitional housing projects for low income families, disabled persons, seniors, and veterans within their community.
Jennifer Weatherford is a VISTA serving at the Texoma Council of Government’s (TCOG) Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) as an affordable housing advocate. TCOG and the ADRC’s core mission is all about building better leaders in the community, bringing in additional resources to the region, and improving the quality of life for Texomans. During her first month with the agency, Jennifer has worked to help coordinate available resources across Texoma and the 12 counties in North Texas that the ADRC serves to support local veterans, disabled individuals, and low-income families in the communities. As part of her service she traveled to east Texas, nearly three hours from her service site, to sit with the Texarkana Homeless coalition and East Texas Veteran’s Resource Center and discuss the steps needed to reach a functional zero in veteran homelessness in the east Texas community. It would be the first time in months that a representative from TCOG could attend a function in Texarkana, and the possibilities for future partnerships looks optimistic.
As a VISTA with Aging and Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC) at Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG), you will help end poverty by writing grants to develop affordable and/or transitional housing within the Texoma region and to create opportunities for employment for persons with disabilities or who are over age 60. Major functions will include becoming familiar with the community and the issues concerning the housing shortage, researching grant funding opportunities in-line with the project goals, preparing a minimum of 6 grant applications with goal of raising $250,000. VISTAs serve their communities through indirect service. The programs developed by the Grant Writing VISTA will endure for years, however the VISTA member will have limited interaction with ADRC’s clients and will be based in an office setting. Applicants should possess good researching skills, strong verbal and writing communication skills, and computer skills.
As a VISTA with Aging and Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC) at Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG), you will help end poverty by writing grants to develop affordable and/or transitional housing within the Texoma region and to create opportunities for employment for persons with disabilities or who are over age 60. Major functions will include becoming familiar with the community and the issues concerning the housing shortage, researching grant funding opportunities in-line with the project goals, preparing a minimum of 6 grant applications with goal of raising $250,000. Applicants should possess good researching skills, strong verbal and writing communication skills, and computer skills.
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