East Texas nonprofits find home for unhoused veteran’s family
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - For seven months, Jesse Snider and his wife Inge Snider had been living in a car, and were unable to stay at a shelter because of their cat, Frankie Mo.
Now, the Sniders have a home where they can keep all their belongings that were previously packed in their vehicle. The family is now able to enjoy things they have not had in a while.
“I got a bathroom.. don’t have to use a public restroom. I get to sleep in a horizontal position.”
Getting adjusted has been difficult after experiencing many things while living in a car.
“I didn’t put a uniform on so that children could be homeless on the street, being abused not only at home but now on the street,” said Jesse. “That’s not what I served for.”
They said the weather also played a big challenge when he would go to work every day.
“Affects you when you are trying to work, I had to park them at my work site... am I going to get off work and my cat and wife are dead?” said Snider, “Getting them a safe place was my top priority.”
So, Jesse went to Gateway to Hope in Tyler, a resource center for people experiencing homelessness created by the Highway 80 Rescue Mission.
“Got birth certificate, driver’s license, they gave us hugs,” said Jesse.
Besides identification, they also provide different types of resources depending on the situation of each person.
“Our role is as soon as we find resources for them to go to we try to get them connected so they’re not stuck in depression that they can see they can accomplish these goals. we are here to empower, not enable,” said Tina Brown, case manager for the Snider family.
In this case, they connected Jesse with Camp V, since he is a veteran but did not know he qualified for benefits. It did take a bit of pushing. When he was younger he was told he didn’t qualify for benefits because he only served for two years, was not a war veteran, and did not retire. Getting him to go to Camp V took some encouragement from workers of Gateway to Hope.
“The mission has nothing to do with Veterans but they knew about Camp V. I was just sitting there debating whether I wanted to do it or not and they said no you have five minutes to get over there,” said Jesse. “Now that’s the kind of motivation that is needed.”
The car that was home for him and his wife now sits in front of their home a reminder of that first step towards getting help.
“Don’t give up... don’t quit... there’s going to be help one way or another in this town,” said Jesse.
Now Jesse searches for a job, which been a challenge since his car broke down, and has been walking to look for interviews. Regarding his cat, he is trying to get him back after leaving him at a nearby shelter.
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