TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT: LOCAL PEOPLE HELPING LOCAL PEOPLE
General Assistance is one of the basic functions of Crete Township. Townships provide food, shelter, and emergency relief for needy people until they are able to support themselves.
Historically, General Assistance was instituted before the depression for people incapable of supporting themselves. Counties taxed for the maintenance of the county poorhouse or poor farms. Township supervisors were the “Overseer of the Poor.” Even then it was believed that local people could do better identifying those in their community in need of help.
The Depression brought a vast number of impoverished people across the country. The federal government decided to step in and provide assistance for those in extreme financial need. These new federal programs directed assistance to three specific categories of people: dependent children, the elderly, and vision impaired. In 1950 disable people were added as an additional category to the federal program. The federal government provided the funds for the states to establish and administer these programs.
People apply to these federal programs and go through an eligibility screening to begin receiving financial assistance. The categories have now been divided into two separate programs. Elderly, vision impaired, and disabled people may receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The program to assist families with dependent children is called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). People who do not fit the eligibility criteria for these two programs may instead qualify for General Assistance.
Typically, General Assistance goes to single people in financial need. The Township Supervisor and staff determine eligibility. Assistance is distributed in the form of vouchers for rent, food, utility bills, etc. We help people re-enter the workforce. Supervisors become advocates for those not able to return to work finding them appropriate support through other available programs such as SSI.
In Crete Township we have been very fortunate, those in need are few in number. The General Assistance Fund is our insurance fund for those in need. We work hard to identify other community resources, which may provide assistance during a crisis. The success of our program is not measured by the dollar amount of general assistance given. Assisting those in need become self-reliant is the measure of our success.
If you should have any questions regarding General Assistance or any issue affecting Crete Township, please feel free to call the township at 708/672-8279.