Guidance & Counseling Resources
Winter Storm Relief for Parents & Staff
Use this link to access a list of resources to assist with winter storm relief.
SNAP Benefit Replacements Due to Winter Storm
On February 19, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received federal approval to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to apply for replacement benefits for food lost or destroyed due to the severe winter weather by dialing 2-1-1.
SNAP recipients who have had food lost or destroyed due to the storm need to apply for replacement food benefits for regular SNAP allotments and SNAP emergency allotments that were provided in response to COVID-19.
SNAP clients are encouraged to stay home and request their replacement food benefits by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting option 2. Alternately, recipients can download Form H1855 (Affidavit for Nonreceipt or Destroyed Food Stamp Benefits) on the HHSC website. To limit exposure to COVID-19, recipients are encouraged to mail or fax the completed form to HHSC instead of visiting their local offices. Completed forms should be mailed to Texas Health and Human Services Commission, PO Box 149027, Austin, TX, 78714-9027, or faxed to 1-877-447-2839. For more information, please visit www.hhs.texas.gov.
SNAP Purchases for Hot Foods
On February 21, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott announced the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) received federal approval to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to use their food benefits to purchase hot foods and ready-to-eat meals due to impacts from the severe winter storm.
SNAP recipients can now use their benefits for hot foods and ready-to-eat foods, such as rotisserie chicken or grocery store deli foods, at retailers that accept SNAP anywhere in the state.
HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. The waiver allows SNAP recipients to purchase these ready-made foods with their Lone Star Cards through the end of March.
Administered by HHSC, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1.6 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Texas. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at www.YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits. To find local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 and select option 1.
COVID-19 Resources: News Releases
HHSC Launches Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
March 31, 2020
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.
“Through this new effort, we are connecting Texans with mental health professionals who can help provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed,” said Sonja Gaines, Deputy Executive Commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are not uncommon to experience in the face of a rapidly changing situation like a pandemic.”
Operated by the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, the support line offers trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. Counseling services are confidential and free of charge to people who call the hotline.
“It is important to recognize how our mental health can be affected by the pandemic,” said Sen. Jane Nelson. “The mental health support line for COVID-19 will go a long way to ensure Texans who are struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues can access the care they need.”
For general health-related information and precautions on COVID-19, people can visit the DSHS webpage and the CDC webpage. To stay up-to-date on the latest news impacting Health and Human Services and regulated providers, people can visit the Health and Human Services COVID-19 webpage.
For more information on mental health resources, find your local mental health authority here.
Texans Urged to Use 2-1-1 Texas Social Services Hotline for COVID-19 Information and Referrals
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services encourages all Texans in need of COVID-19 information and referrals to community resources to call the 2-1-1 Texas hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“As we encourage people to use social distancing and to stay at home when possible, this state resource can help the public stay informed, stay calm and stay safe,” said Wayne Salter, HHS Deputy Executive Commissioner of Access and Eligibility Services. “Our trained staff are working tirelessly around the clock to respond to all the public’s questions, through 2-1-1 as well as our HHS social media platforms.”
Texans, no matter where they live, can dial 2-1-1 or (877) 541-7905 and select option 6 to get information and referrals to COVID-19 social services, including testing, community clinics, unemployment benefits and more.
Texans can also dial 2-1-1 to find information about local community resources such as financial assistance for utilities or rent and food pantries, housing assistance, crisis counseling, utility payment assistance, and senior services.
Call center operators answered more than 785,000 calls by Texans for information and services during Hurricane Harvey and are available to help during this public health crisis.
For general health-related information and precautions on COVID-19, visit the DSHS website and the CDC page.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news and updates impacting HHS services and regulated providers by visiting the HHS COVID-19 page.
For more information on the state hotline, visit 211texas.org.
Social/Emotional Learning (SEL)
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Financial Assistance - Healthwell Foundation
Resource for financial help ($250.00) found on the Healthwell Foundation page. Since Hays County has positive confirmations, residents qualify for help.
Addiction, Substance Abuse & Rehab Resources
Alcoholism and drug addiction destroy lives. True substance abuse rehabilitation is a process, but one that can lead to sustainable recovery. It often begins with drug and alcohol rehab, and extends beyond. There are also other addictions that your family member can have that are not drug or alcohol related. If you are looking for rehab locations throughout the United States or in Texas, use the link below to find the best location for the person you care about most. The service is free.
Communities in Schools (CIS)
Mission – Communities In Schools of Central Texas surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
Individualized Student Support
- Individual counseling, crisis intervention, mentoring, mediation, conflict resolution
- Group counseling (grief and loss, anger management, reducing risky behaviors, social skills development)
- Tutoring and academic support, goal setting activities
- Prevention and Engagement Services
- Leadership development activities (XYZone)
- Enrichment activities, field trips, service learning projects, college / career awareness activities
Hays HopeLine is a convenient and confidential way for students and parents to report bullying, harassment, school safety concerns, or any other personal crisis.
You can leave a tip 24-hours-a-day, any day of the year. However, the HopeLine is currently only monitored during regular school business hours. During the summer break, the HopeLine will not be regularly monitored by district staff. In the event of an emergency or immediate need, please call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).