Elder Auto and Home Repair Assistance Expanded to All Tribal Elders in Sawyer County
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
By Joe Morey
Doreen Wolfe, LCO Elder Services Benefits, came before the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB), on Monday, September 13, to request an increase in Elder Services for Home and Auto Repairs from $1,300 to $2,000 annually. This increase would have been per home, but members of the TGB pointed out a new program, Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), which is described in another article this week, that could address the need for more Elder home repair funding.
The requested increase was ultimately denied, but the TGB did vote in favor of expanding the home and auto repair benefits to all LCO Tribal Elders living within Sawyer County. The previous benefit was only offered to those Elders living on the Reservation. This benefit is offered to Elders 62 years of age and older.
The previous annual budget for this service was an estimated $270,000 to serve 328 Elders living on the Reservation, but will now be increased to $470,000 to serve the additional 148 Elders living off Reservation but within Sawyer County. Wolfe noted that of the 328 Elders, only 178 of them used the service last year.
Wolfe noted that many Elders may not have automobiles or live in Housing units as to the reason why only 178 used the service.
LCO Secretary-Treasurer Tweed Shuman said the Tribe has $2.3 million from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies towards Homeowner Assistance and that the Tribe added another $2 million from their own funds to this program. He suggested to Wolfe that when Elders come to her program for assistance, she first has them go to the Homeowner Assistance program. He noted the Tribe is currently setting up policies and procedures for this program.
TGB Member Don Carley added this would be a great idea for Elders because if they received assistance for home repairs through this program, they could use the entire $1,300 towards auto repairs.
Chairman Louis Taylor said, although, “We don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks, there is a lot of money available through the ARPA funds, which would allow us to keep the Elder Services budget the same.”
Taylor stated the person at the Tribal Office who will administer the Homeowner Assistance program will be identified soon, as well as eligibility for the program.