Richard A. StevensonAfter our Annual Report is completed and approved by our Township Board, Indiana law requires us to publish our financial information in two newspapers of general circulation in our County. Our legal advertisement recently was published in the Journal-Gazette and News-Sentinel and was a full page plus another half page long. This advertisement is informative for those who have the time to go through it, but does not tell the full story about Township Government and how it helps our community.

More frequently than you might imagine, I am asked about the role of Township Government and what the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office does for our residents. Since I am so close to what we do everyday, I sometimes don’t realize that some residents of Wayne Township are confused about the role of the Trustee’s Office.

As a large urban Township, the primary function of the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office is to provide temporary financial assistance to those in need. That might include a person who has lost his or her job or someone who has become disabled and is unable to support him or herself because of that disability.

Unlike Wayne Township, smaller rural townships may have other functions that are important to them. This is one of the great things about Township Government in Indiana. It is flexible enough to allow each township to meet the needs of its residents.

In our Township, eligibility for Township Assistance is determined by our Wayne Township Eligibility Standards, which we update every year. Our Standards contain Income Guidelines for a client to qualify for Township assistance. If a client qualifies, we look at the way a client has spent his or her money. Our clients are expected to use the money they have to pay for their basic necessities first. Those would include such items as housing, utilities, food, clothing and medicine.

When a client is determined to be eligible for Township Assistance, we can help that client pay for his or her basic necessities, again which are such items as housing, utilities, food, clothing and medicine. As you can see from our recently published legal advertisement, we, unlike the State, send the assistance money directly to the vendor, such as the client’s utility company or landlord. That way, for example, we make sure the client’s landlord or utility company receives his or her rent or utility payment in the most efficient way possible.

Wayne Township also provides support services to help clients regain their financial independence. These include our Employment Training Center, which has a job placement program. We provide our clients, through weekly training classes, with information that will help them obtain jobs and help them with other issues they may face.

One of these issues is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Within the next few weeks, we are proud to have a speaker from Purdue Extension Office, who will talk to our clients about proper nutrition. We previously have offered clients information on smoking cessation. We know that if a client is not healthy, that client will have difficulty obtaining new employment and maintaining that employment.

We also have what we call a Workfare Program, in which many of our clients are required to work to maintain their eligibility for Township Assistance. In this program, clients who are physically able, work for non-profit agencies or at our office. This way, clients can give back to the community for the help they have received from our office.

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee