Program shuts down, leaving 57 East Texans helpless

UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - More than 50 elderly East Texans are helpless as a program that promised to fix their homes shuts down. The Center for Housing Resources has served hundreds of low-income East Texans over age 60. But the non-profit group has dissolved its home repair program.

Now, its East Texas partner is seeking help from the community.

A log cabin fit for one, and tailored to fit the needs of Lynn Henson.

"They lowered my cabinets so I could reach and wash my dishes," said Henson. "They put in a double sink - which I need. They enlarged my shower."

A disabled veteran, Henson makes less than $1,000 a month. He qualified for help from The Center for Housing Resources, a Dallas-based non-profit group that partnered with the East Texas Council of Governments to repair homes of low-income seniors.

"Our average client gets a social security check of $643 a month and you can't maintain a home on that kind of income, unfortunately," said Karen Cline,  housing manager for ETCOG.

Cline says the Center for Housing Resources has poured millions of dollars into the East Texas region but its board of directors decided this month to dissolve its housing program.

A decision that leaves 57 East Texans helpless.

"Unfortunately, they are left sitting on a list," said Cline. "We've worked with these clients and qualified them for the program they had the expectation that they would be served through the programs."

"I don't think that's fair," said Henson. "I don't think that's fair at all."

Henson bought his log cabin last fall, just after his leg was amputated.

"[I need] new faucets of course and hand rails so I can get in and out," said Henson.

The program helped him with the jobs he physically and financially couldn't do.

"It was God-send," he said.

ETCOG says it is needs like Hansons, that continue to increase.

Re-Habitat for Humanity has volunteered to help ETCOG serve the residents in Smith County.

If you are interested in helping, click here.

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