Changes to grant funding criteria have expanded access to financial assistance for veterans and their families in Williamson County.

What you need to know

Williamson County received $210,000 in grant funding from the Texas Veterans Commission in July, providing emergency financial assistance for veterans in Williamson County. Previously, the Williamson County Veterans Service Office faced challenges reaching those most in need.

Just shy of four months on the job, Michael Hernandez, WilCo's newly appointed director of Veteran Services, gained approval for amendments to the county's grant funding criteria after submitting proposals to the state commission in November.

The updates now include eligibility for veterans receiving disability benefits, spouses, surviving spouses and dependents.

“Our veterans have given so much for our country that we want to be able to help our veterans when they need emergency assistance,” Veteran Services Grant Coordinator Alicia Emmons said.

The money will provide $1,000 emergency assistance to qualifying applicants for rent, mortgage or utility payments. An additional option for financial assistance includes $1,000 toward burial services.

Williamson County is home to roughly 38,000 veterans, ranking the 10th largest county in the state for veteran populations.

Close to 5% of Williamson County veterans—1,706 individuals—earn an annual income at or below poverty level, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Also of note

Previously serving in a veterans services position in Hays County, Hernandez has experience tracking and growing grant programs.

Hernandez said the county will be eligible to increase grant funding in 2025.

“I'm all about data. I want to know what the future needs are,” Hernandez said. “The No. 1 need right now, that was requested by the veteran community [via survey], is actually mental health.”

For more information regarding financial assistance, eligibility or any veteran services, call 512-943-1900 or visit the Williamson County Veteran Services office at 100 Wilco Way, Georgetown.