Different approaches in Nacogdoches, East Texas available to help with winter storm recovery

Different approaches in Nacogdoches, East Texas available to help with winter storm recovery
WEBXTRA: GETCAP utility assistance

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - High utility bills and repair costs brought on by recent winter storms are strapping the budgets of East Texans. Two sources of assistance are available.

One comes from federal and state funds thru the Health and Human Services. The other from private donations and generosity.

Greater East Texas Community Action is telling customers they’re ready.

“We have money,” assured GETCAP case manager Teresa Land.

“Because of some enhanced funding that has come to Texas because of population shifts funding is available,” explained GETCAP executive director Karen Swenson.

It’s for East Texans across 20 counties including Demetrius McQueen and Sherry Smithhart.

They are nervous about high utility bills.

“Terrified. Because I feel like it’s going to be one of those I’m not going to be able to pay,” said McQueen.

And coming out of two weeks without water.

“We had to have floors cut out to get to the pipes because it’s an older house,” said Smithhart.

GETCAP’S case manager Teresa Land says there’s over $5-million for utility assistance and hotels for displaced customers. More money is on its way for water bills and repairs. She stresses apply now.

“Currently we probably have across 20 counties that we serve we probably have 5,000 (applications). We see anywhere from 150 to 200 apps a day,” said Land.

That’s about 80% more than years without unprecedented storms.

Also providing assistance is the group called Winter Storm Team. As fast as roofing, plumbing fixtures and essential donations come in to Winter Storm Team, they go out to requested help on its Facebook page.

“It’s turning into an amazing little community page and resource. We’re even considering our own 501 C3, to continue meeting the needs in the community,” explained co-founder Spring Shahnewaz. Do it yourselfers to pro bono professionals receive the items.

“We need some volunteer roofers, carpenters,” said rural outreach coordinator Sonja Guillory. “Anybody who can assist us in that capacity. Neighbors helping neighbors.”}

Two different approaches in helping others.

Greater East Texas Community Action: CLICK HERE.

Winter Storm Team: CLICK HERE.

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