I find it hard to believe that summer already is on its way to being over. While I really enjoy summer, I know some of you might be happy to see the end of this summer of extreme heat and drought. And, with the end of summer comes, of course, the beginning of school.
We had a very successful program this year to provide school supplies for children of clients, who were unable to afford the cost of buying the supplies themselves. The organizer of our school supplies program, Sharon Conrad, reported that we have given away almost all of the backpacks and many of the supplies we had amassed through donations from our staff and other sources. I’m so glad we are able to do this for the children of our Township who need this help.
Another event that comes at the end of summer is the Waynedale Picnic, to be held on Saturday. I always look forward to this great community event and plan to be there with some of my staff for the festivities. Some of our clients also will be helping out at the picnic. If you see me there, please stop by and say, “Hello!”
From time to time, I get questions from clients as to why they were denied assistance. We always try our best to accommodate the needs of everyone who comes in our door. But, we also must follow Indiana Law and our Eligibility Standards, which sometimes require us to deny assistance to persons who come to us for help.
To qualify for Township Assistance, an individual or family must meet our income guidelines. The guidelines require a person or family’s income to be not more than 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. We must ask clients to bring us proof of their income and other documents, including receipts showing how they have spent their money. This can be a tedious process, but we have no other way to determine if a person is eligible for Township Assistance.
We also, by law, must require clients to apply for other governmental programs that might be available to them. This could include such programs as Food Stamps and TANF, and we need proof from the agency that the client has signed up for these programs before we can approve Township Assistance. To help clients understand what they need to do, we now are giving them a form entitled, “Compliance With Other Agencies,” which lists the requirements.
A very important requirement that has caused clients to be denied assistance recently is that persons seeking Township Assistance must apply for public or low-income housing and cooperate with Fort Wayne Housing Authority or other subsidized housing program. I believe that if client cannot afford their housing, they need to seek housing they can afford. Clients also must complete all work days assigned to them at non-profit or government agencies or risk losing their assistance for 180 days.
When an individual is denied because they are not eligible for Township Assistance, we still have some options to help them. We often refer them to our Community Resource Specialist, Dennis Powell. Mr. Powell tries to find other agencies within our community which might be able to help.
Persons who need food can come to our office at 8:30 a.m. on Mondays and get food from the Community Harvest Farm Wagon. Associated Churches also has a food bank within our office for those who need food. The Associated Churches food bank has limited hours, so you might want to call before coming in to visit that food bank.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee