As Wayne Township Trustee, it is my job to address the needs of those less fortunate and to be a good steward of your tax dollar. Everyday I see individuals struggling to make ends meet. I see victims of domestic violence and families torn apart by substance abuse. I see those who are uneducated, unemployed and many who are simply physically unable to work. I know you have noticed how everything is more expensive these days. Forget the cost of living; the cost of existence is soaring. It costs more to heat our homes, drive our cars and feed our families; no one has escaped the impact.
If you look at the amount of your basic necessities these days, it is almost frightening. Imagine if your income was cut in half. Picture yourself with 50% less resources and the same needs. This is the life of an individual who lives below the poverty line. Could you survive on $800 a month (gross income)? Would you know what to do if suddenly you were in this position? Would you know how to apply for benefits or how to look for suitable childcare in order to look for better employment? These are just some of the daily challenges faced by those in poverty right here in our community.
Statistics show the general population of this country would be homeless if they simply missed two pay periods. Indiana leads the nation in mortgage default rates and is among the leaders in bankruptcies. These are just some of the factors contributing to poverty in our community along with a loss of manufacturing jobs. You may think that I have the most depressing position in local government, but I see just the opposite. I have always had a conviction to help those who cannot help themselves. I also feel it is imperative to have a long-term treatment plan in mind for those capable of self-sufficiency.
Every client that is physically able to work that applies for township assistance must complete an employment application. This skills, experience and education assessment helps us to begin crafting an individual plan for this client’s eventual self-sufficiency. This employment application is then forwarded to employers and the clients are required to apply for what ever jobs they have available. If they fail to apply, or purposely present themselves in an unprofessional manner, they become ineligible for assistance for the following two months. Unemployed clients are also required to look for employment on their own and provide proof of doing so before being considered for assistance. If they still don’t find employment, Wayne Township requires them to work at a non-profit agency for the assistance that they have received. In this way everyone who can work …does work. Wayne Township has saved non-profit agencies over $200,000 in staffing costs by requiring able-bodied clients to work.
The economy, unemployment and inflation all contribute to the problems of the poor in Wayne Township. As I watch the news, I see the devastation of third-world countries, starving children and even the plight of the citizens of New Orleans. These people were overcome by circumstances outside their control. These are people truly in need.
As long as I am Trustee of Wayne Township, you have my promise that we will do our best to help transition those in need to become self-sufficient and contributors to our community.
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