Every year in January we are required by Indiana law to prepare an annual report for the State Board of Accounts. In addition to standard information about receipts and disbursements, our annual report includes an estimate of the value of services we provide without spending Township funds. Each time we prepare this report, I am reminded and amazed at all the services we provide outside of our legally mandated duties.
We often assist social service agencies by allowing them to use our building for meetings and special events that benefit our community. This was the case just this week when we served as one of the sites for the Point-In-Time Homeless Count sponsored by the Fort Wayne Area Planning Council on Homelessness. Our office has participated in the homeless count for the past several years, and we have been glad to help out.
The count is called “Point-In-Time” due to it being conducted on the same day all across the United States. The count is very important because information obtained from the survey can affect the amount of funding local agencies receive to help end homelessness. On the day of the count, January 25 this year, homeless persons came into our office from 7 a.m. to noon, where volunteers directed them to our conference room and helped them fill out the surveys.
The Planning Council also helped our homeless population by giving a backpack of donated items to those who came into our office to be counted. The items included hats, scarves, gloves, socks, blankets, flashlights, personal hygiene products and other items that are needed by homeless individuals. We are proud that our office was one of only five places in Fort Wayne selected as a site for the homeless count.
Our annual report estimates that we have provided over $80,000 worth of non-traditional services to residents of Wayne Township without spending any government money. Among our many non-traditional services are our clothing bank, space for a food pantry, food distribution through the Community Harvest Farm Wagon and participation with the Christmas Bureau. Our clothing bank is the most recent addition to our non-traditional services. It consists of our staff collecting donated clothing and distributing that clothing to persons in need.
I always am surprised when I look at the year-end figures for the value of services provided to non-profit agencies by our Workfare Department. We require our Township Assistance clients, who are able to work, to give back to the community by working a required number of hours at a non-profit or governmental agency. Last year, our Workfare clients donated over 27,000 hours to local non-profit agencies. By using the Federal minimum wage, we estimated the value of these services to be almost $200,000.
In addition, our annual report estimates the numerous referrals we make to other agencies on behalf of persons who do not qualify or only partially qualify for help from Township funds. For example, we estimate we made over 4,000 referrals to other agencies for needed housing assistance and over 2,000 referrals to other agencies for utility assistance.
Indiana Law requires our Wayne Township Board to conduct a reorganization meeting at the beginning of each year. At this meeting, the Board must elect new officers for the coming year. The new officers for 2012 are Tony Henry, Chair; Bruce Stier, Secretary; and Pat Turner, Finance Chair. Congratulations to the new officers. We appreciate all they do for the Township throughout the year.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee