Austin-based Samaritan Center will use a $400,000 state grant to fund its Hope for Heroes program that offers mental and other health care services to veterans, active-duty service members and their families.

The funding comes from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, and TVC announced the award earlier in July. The Hope for Heroes program launched in 2007 to help service members and their families deal with emotional trauma from serving in the war, including treating post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, or TBIs.

Program staff are chosen for their military experience and clinical expertise in treating PTSD and TBI, according to a news release.

“We are so appreciative of the opportunity to help us serve veterans, military members and their families in Central Texas,” Samaritan Center CEO Carlos Rivera said. “There is a great need to provide therapeutic support to our veterans returning with PTSD and TBI. The Samaritan Center is unique in our approach to healing. We focus on the mind, body and spirit.”

The Samaritan Center is located at 8956 Research Blvd., Bldg. 2, Austin, and was founded in 1974 and treats mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or anything trauma-related, Rivera said. The organization focuses on reaching vulnerable populations, including low-income families and veterans.

Rivera previously told Community Impact Newspaper that 36 percent of the Samaritan Center’s patients are current or former military members but that he would like to reach more.

“We are only able to touch the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There’s still a lot of need out there. We’re not able to meet it.”

In 2015, the Samaritan Center served more than 500 veterans, active-duty service members and their families and expects to serve more than 730 people in the next 12 months, according to the center. Hope for Heroes is primarily funded by the TVC, Round Rock Community Foundation, individual donations and area churches.

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