Waynedale Political Commentaries

“GOOD” GROWING CONDITIONS – Voice Of The Township

Think about plants. They all have certain requirements for optimal growing conditions. For good plant growth, you need good growing conditions such as sufficient water, oxygen and minerals; proper temperature; adequate light; control of pests. Inappropriate conditions will result in poor development and reduced production. Some plants require large amounts of sunlight, and some don’t. Some plants require large amounts of water to thrive, and some such as cacti can do well in drought conditions. You may be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which focuses on the stages of growth in humans. The most fundamental levels of needs are described as physiological and safety needs. They should be met first. Air, water and food are requirements for human survival. Clothing and shelter provide protection from the elements. Our approach is to meet these needs first for our clients. We then focus on their economic safety, helping the client to secure employment. Most of us want to feel respected, by others and by ourselves. Being employed often helps us to feel respected. Being unemployed sometimes results in low self-esteem.

Our clients are all different, and they have certain requirements for optimal growing conditions. In our office, each applicant is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. When seeking assistance all applicants are required to complete an application for assistance. Our investigators verify income for the household, and use the applicant’s receipts to verify how their income was utilized. Our investigators gather additional information from clients during their interviews to determine how we can best assist them. The Investigator attempts to discover each client’s specific needs. They determine if clients need more than monetary assistance from us. It is the Investigator’s role to determine what needs to be done for our clients to ensure they have “good growing conditions”.

Some clients do well at handling their money, and may need assistance because of a temporary setback. Some clients don’t do well at handling their money. Our Investigators work with clients to create individualized budgets, with the hope of improving their spending habits.

Some of our clients have a great deal of education, including college degrees. Some have very little education. We often help clients enroll in class to complete their GED, or in an “English as a Second Language” class. We attempt to improve basic skills, to increase employment possibility.

Upon application for Township assistance, applicants complete an employment form which details their skills and job history. This information is forwarded to our Employment Department. The Employment staff canvasses the city to meet and partner with businesses as potential employers for our clients. We provide weekly skills training classes. Some clients need to create resumes, need to improve their interviewing skills, or need job leads. Our Employment staff offers help with these needs.

Our Payee staff assists those on the Payee program by making direct payments with their funds to landlords and utility companies in a timely manner to protect against homelessness, late fees, and utility disconnection.

Our Community Resource Liaison is familiar with the assistance that many other organizations provide. When an applicant completes our application process and still has need for other assistance, the Community Resource Liaison is sometimes able to point the client to other organizations which may be able to provide additional assistance.

One of our primary goals is to help clients find jobs and move from “Assistance to Independence”. I sometimes use the term, “We all arrive at different times”. When I say that, I am usually explaining that different people take different amounts of time and effort to come to the realization of what it takes to be able to function independently. We view our roles as helping clients to achieve their independent status. We have changed the Township’s focus from making maintenance payments to finding ways to encourage our clients to seek improvement and growth.

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
www.waynetownship.org

Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee

Wayne Township Trustee Rick Stevenson was elected Trustee in November of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. He is very passionate about helping those in need and considers it a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer