Veterans Treatment Court facing funding troubles

Court turns to Bexar County Commissioners for help

SAN ANTONIO – The Veterans Treatment Court in Bexar County is facing what presiding Judge Wayne Christian calls a serious financial crisis.

"The court is in big trouble,"  Christian said as he explained that Federal and State grants that have underwritten the program are running out.

The court handles military veteran's misdemeanor cases ranging from substance abuse to family violence and PTSD that can be traced to their military service.  It has over a hundred veterans currently enrolled in treatment programs with another 200 waiting to get in according to Christian.

He is now turning to Bexar County Commissioners for financial help.

"When you deal with specialty courts the county commissioners at some point come in and have to take over the payments for the staff services because the grants ultimately dry up," Christian said.

He is hoping that will happen on Thursday when he meets with the commissioners during a budget work session.  The county manager reportedly wants to take a closer look at the court's staffing.

Judge Tim Johnson, who handles the Veterans Court docket in Christians absence, says this not just a dollars and cents issue.  It is an issue dealing with the needs of  some special people.  Case in point he said was Monday's docket.

"We had a hundred bodies in this courtroom and out of those 100 bodies more than half of them had either bronze stars or purple hearts - - or both," Johnson said.

He said he shares Christian's cautious optimism going into the Thursday meeting.

"My gut feeling is that they're going to do the right thing," Christian said.

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