The Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) has increased its efforts to reduce and prevent veteran homelessness by expanding its team with two Homeless Veteran Coordinators.
“This is good news. They will engage directly with veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of experiencing it in both urban and rural areas across Texas,” said Dr. Blake Harris, TVC Veteran Mental Health Department Director, pictured. “Further, they will provide training and technical assistance to service providers and work with organizations and stakeholders across Texas to identify and fill gaps in service.”
Of the homeless population of Texas, an estimated 8% are veterans. Beyond the basic human need for shelter, housing improves overall one’s well-being physically, mentally and emotionally. Additionally, this benefits the overall well-being of communities including economically.
The new Homeless Veteran Coordinators are part of TVC’s Veterans Mental Health Department. They are Anthony “AB” Bustos, MPH (Master of Public Health), and Amber Batha.
Bustos, pictured, is an Army veteran, having served eight years as a Combat Medic with two deployments to Iraq. In the military he had the unique opportunity to serve as a subject-matter expert for ABC World News in the realm of Servicemember Policy and Equality. “He is passionate about serving fellow veterans and prior to joining TVC was a Case Manager and Healthcare Navigator in Caritas of Austin’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program as well as the Secretary of the Staff Advisory Council,”said Harris. Bustos has additional public service experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the City of Austin’s HIV Prevention Program and as the City’s Ebola Task Force Coordinator during the 2015 Ebola Outbreak.
Amber Batha, pictured, has over 20 years’ extensive experience working with families experiencing homelessness and those at-risk of homelessness. In her prior roles as a Social Services Program Administrator, Casework Manager, and Probation Officer she has supervised and provided direct services to justice involved individuals, at-risk youth and families, and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. “She has ample experience in program development, generating policy and procedures, and overseeing grant programs,” said Harris. “Amber also played a key role in the establishment of a Drug Court and a Reentry Court as well as working across agencies to develop a Regionalized Offender Program.”
For more information on and to connect with TVC’s Homeless Veteran Initiative and other VMHD programs including: Justice Involved Veteran Program, Military Veteran Peer Network, Community & Faith-Based Partner Program, Provider Program, Suicide Prevention, visit www.tvc.texas.gov and click on Mental Health.