Representatives from Disability Rights Texas, the Area Agency on Aging and other agencies held a seminar Friday to make East Texans aware of the myriad services available to them.
Disability Rights Texas is a protection and advocacy agency for Texans with disabilities, according to executive director Sean Jackson. He said every state is mandated to have a similar agency.
‘‘What we do is help persons with disabilities deal with discrimination, but we also assist with a variety of other programs,’’ he said. ‘‘Besides civil rights discrimination, we also assist with getting special education services, and we help them with vocational rehabilitation services — that would be for someone who has a disability and wants to go back to work or continue working.’’
Jackson said other services offered by DRTx include assistance with housing issues, monitoring psychiatric hospitals, state-supported living centers and nursing facilities to make sure people are safe in those particular settings. The agency also assists with Medicaid benefits and doing appeals. As an example, he said they may do an appeal for a child receiving nursing care that is paid through Medicaid.
Jackson wants to make people aware of Disability Rights Texas and all the services the agency offers. He believes East Texas is underserved because residents don’t know about all of their available options.
‘‘To do outreach properly and make sure people are aware of us, you have to go meet people where they are in the community,’’ he said. ‘‘We feel like the more rural communities don’t get enough attention, so we want to come out and interface with folks. Their needs are just as important as everyone else’s.’’
Donna Sprouse, who works with the Area Agency on Aging of Deep East Texas, said residents in rural communities are not aware of the many services for which they are eligible.
Those services include: food assistance, housing and shelter, health services, veterans assistance, mental health services, employment help, and aging and disability.
LaTisha Stanerry, a case manager with Tri-County Community Action, said the seminar gave her a new look at what the state can offer individuals with a disability. Tri-County helps individuals with utility bills and rental assistance.
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