HANOVER TOWNSHIP (ECWd) -
On reviewing several of the board packets from Hanover Township, we noticed questionable expenditures from the township's general assistance fund. For those not familiar with General Assistance, it is Public Aid administered by the Township.
Since April of 2018 thru April of 2019, Hanover Township has used its general assistance funds for the following (see example here):
- Home Insurance Assistance totaling $1,238.59
- Property Tax Assistance totaling $5,122.84
- Auto Insurance Assistance totaling $3,326.11
- Fuel Assistance Card totaling $2,850.00
- Homeowner's Association Dues totaling $266.95
- Vehicle License Plate renewal totaling $103.37
We doubt the legislature intended for the General Assistance program to pay for homeowner insurance, homeowners association dues, their real estate taxes, auto insurance, car payments, or to renew license plates.
Hanover Township Administrator James Barr responded to our questions related to these expenditures, here's what he had to say:
- "Hanover Township provides assistance for indigent residents for shelter, in accordance with Article VI of the Public Aid Code and Section 9 of the Township Supervisors of Illinois General Assistance Handbook (adopted in accordance with the requirements of the Consent Decree entered in Rodriquez v. Township of DeKalb). This may include payment for costs required to maintain their place of residence, such as rent, mortgage, real estate taxes, home insurance, and home association dues. Failure to pay property taxes, home insurance premiums, and association dues can—and, unfortunately, does—result in the loss of homes. Hanover Township provides assistance with these payments in an effort to avoid such outcomes for qualifying residents."
- "Hanover Township provides assistance for indigent residents for transportation to enable access to employment, job searching, and medical care, in accordance with Article VI of the Public Aid Code and Sections 11 and 18 of the Township Supervisors of Illinois General Assistance Handbook. This may include car payments, auto insurance, and renewal of vehicle license plates. Failure to make car payments may result in repossession by lenders. Failure to pay auto insurance or renew vehicle license plates renders the operation of a vehicle illegal. Hanover Township provides assistance with these payments in an effort to avoid such outcomes for qualifying residents."
We believe this Township is reading things into the General Assistance statutes and the TOI Handbook on GA (which is not a law) that are simply not there and were never contemplated by the Legislature.
Let's look at Article VI of the Public Aid Code, Section 6-1.
It specifically references "basic maintenance requirements" with financial aid:
- for either (a) necessary treatment, care, and supplies required because of illness or disability, or (b) acute medical treatment, care, and supplies only.
Basic maintenance, under General Assistance, does not include housing, food, transportation, etc...
Additionally, this month alone, Hanover Township is misusing public funds by purchasing "bereavement flowers" (see pages 6 and 9), spending more on property taxes and home insurance (page 17), and auto insurance for private autos (page 18).