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Backs Discount For Disabled Area Residents

Oak Lawn Village Trustee Robert Streit (3rd) has proposed the ÒHelp a Disabled Neighbor” initiative that he said will provide disabled Oak Lawn citizens with discounts on village vehicle stickers and garbage hauling bills.

Under the program introduced by Streit at the May 14 village board meeting, eligible residents would receive the same discounts that are currently available for senior citizens. Residents over the age of 62 qualify for one vehicle sticker per household for $5 instead of the usual $25. {{more}}

In addition, at age 65, seniors qualify for a discount of $3.93 off their refuse bill, according to Streit.

Streit introduced the measure and asked the village’s attorneys to draft the appropriate ordinance for the board to approve at an upcoming meeting.

Streit said that the village has excellent discounts for senior citizens and other programs for the needy. However, the trustee said that the disabled population does not have a similar discount in place despite the fact that almost 30 percent of Oak Lawn’s disabled live below the poverty line.

This past year, 224 handicapped placards were issued in Oak Lawn. In addition, due to their inability to work, many disabled experience financial hardship, Streit said.

ÒIt’s only fair that we recognize and help citizens within Oak Lawn who already have a difficult path as they cope with a permanent disability,” said Streit.

Streit said that Oak Lawn has always been known as a community that prides itself on helping its neighbors.

ÒWe are a community that comes together to assist each other in time of need”, said Streit, who is the longest serving trustee in the village.

He praised the past efforts of the village and community organizations for programs that serve the poor and the seniors. He cited the food pantries and The Public Action to Deliver Shelter Program (PADS), which serves the 8 percent of Oak Lawn residents who are below the poverty level.

He also noted that the village has recognized veterans, who make up almost 9 percent of Oak Lawn residents, and he noted that there is a service on Veterans Day. And a village program for seniors to provide help shoveling snow and raking leaves is very popular, added Streit.

Since the budget for 2013 did not include these discounts, Streit suggested that a donation box be placed in the Village Hall and at Village events so that people can ÒHelp a Disabled Neighbor.”

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