THE VOICE OF THE TOWNSHIP

When your life’s vocation is to help those in need, little could be more disheartening than to deny someone help that does not qualify for Township assistance (per the Indiana Statutes). What happens to those who may not qualify but are still in need? About seventy percent of applicants coming to Wayne Township receive some form of assistance, but for those remaining the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office developed the position of Community Resource Specialist.

The first of its kind at a Township in Indiana, the Resource Specialist provides accurate referral information for clients that have been denied township assistance. In recent years due to the slow economy and job market in this community, local agencies have also been overwhelmed with requests to help those in need. Since there is only so much in the way of financial resources to be utilized, the only way to stretch those resources was to reduce administrative costs. The most labor-intensive part of assistance is proof of need, and agencies are sometimes given the difficult choice of cutting an investigation short to deal with the large numbers of applicants and save resources for direct assistance.

Since these options both lead to a greater possibility of wasted resources, the partnership to forward the information gained by the Township during its investigation will help to eliminate it.

Townships are required by law to carefully investigate the circumstances of each applicant and prove their eligibility. This can be a timely and often invasive process and that is why townships sometimes are criticized for the high cost of administration. If the truth were known, I feel very strongly that most citizens would choose to have these thorough investigations done before providing their tax dollars as the solution for someone else’s needs. But, when the investigation does not qualify the client for Township assistance, the transition is made to the Resource Specialist.

Clients are interviewed that are ineligible, in part or whole, for any Wayne Township service or program by the Resource Specialist, who then makes a determination of what outside resources the client may utilize. We contact community agencies and outside support services on behalf of the client and to arrange client appointments. We also provide clients with information for other agencies including; application and eligibility requirements and a follow up with agencies to verify if assistance was provided.

Many of the clients from our Payee Program need help from this department. The Wayne Township Payee Program was designed to assist disabled citizens with the financial challenges they face, by using their own resources wisely. Most payee requests are for finding shelter, old utility bills, deposits, and some also have need for furniture and clothing. Once on the payee program, a far lesser amount of valuable community resources are needed to replace funds lost to predatory lending or ill-advised spending,

The success of this program clearly depends on establishing and maintaining a rapport with all community partners, as well as the utility providers, property management groups and faith-based agencies. We are constantly exploring alternative avenues to address the needs of our neighbors who have worked hard to help build and maintain this community. Our community liaison is just another example of our commitment to those who may not be eligible for township assistance but are still in need.

The Waynedale News Staff

Matthew Schomburg

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