SNAPSHOT SURVEY

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2nd Quarter, 2010

Social services treading water as America’s workforce slips away
In May 2010, Catholic Charities USA released its first quarter 2010 Snapshot Survey raising the question: Where is the recovery? Local Catholic Charities agencies, on the frontlines during the economic crisis, described a struggle to meet the increased needs of individuals and working families. Scarce and dwindling revenue sources from state/federal governments, individuals, and corporations threatened programs, services, and staff; social services were left to wonder how they will continue to be able to serve their communities. Three months later, Catholic Charities agencies across the country are still wondering when the recovery will come. Harsh financial outlooks hamper the ability to provide services, and with even more state budget cuts looming and individual donations decreasing, agencies find themselves largely treading water, doing whatever is necessary to maintain operations and serve the growing number of people in despair. Catholic Charities served over 9 million people in 2010, up 1 million from 2008. In this second quarter Snapshot Survey report, forty-one Catholic Charities agencies across the country share their stories of poverty in America, describing continued disturbing trends about the faces of those in need and the future of social services in our country.

The working poor in jeopardy
In cities and small towns across the country, Catholic Charities agencies are developing new relationships with America’s workforce, relationships they wish they would never exist. Every day, hard-working individuals and families are falling behind, finding it even more difficult to make ends meet. America’s working class continues to become the working poor, one and two-income households unable to pay their bills, feed their children, and keep a roof over their heads. Overall, the responding agencies report increases in requests for help from the following groups: • • • Working poor – 71% Families – 59% Homeless – 59% • • • Children – 54% Middle class – 49% Seniors – 46%

Agencies identify increases in requests for the following services: • • Rent/mortgage assistance – 71% Utilities assistance – 76% • • Emergency financial assistance – 68% Food – 56%

Locally, the needs are varied, yet profound:

“Proposed cuts to home care for seniors, health care for low-income families, and child care would be devastating for the people we serve.”

“We are seeing more immigrants living in fear because of their proximity to Arizona and the possibility of similar restrictions being considered in Utah.” Kathryn Brussard, Catholic Charities of Utah “Although we continue to grow in funding and new services, we will never meet the increasing need for service.” Michael Halterman, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Inc. “The number of requests far exceeds financial resources for emergency assistance.” Laura Hickey, Catholic Charities, Jacksonville, FL “Our funding for emergency assistance (rent, utilities, and food) is nearly depleted for this funding cycle, months earlier than in previous years. Our shelter costs have increased and local government funding has decreased causing us to consider personnel cuts.” Mic Akin, Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands “More young families are considering adoption planning since they cannot afford another child. Child care is becoming a major issue as families making minimum wage cannot afford the cost of licensed care.” Karen Johnston, Catholic Charities, Green Bay, WI. “The decrease in food from Second Harvest, our primary source of food, has caused us to go to once monthly distribution instead of twice monthly… Usually at this time of year, many calls are for utility assistance. Of these calls, more and more are for help for those facing an eviction.” Trish Trejo, Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana “Food shelf use at one location is up by nearly 100 percent since January 2009, there are more families seeking shelter services, and we are seeing people who have not had to ask before.” Patty Wilder, Catholic Charities of Minneapolis & St. Paul

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In Pittsburgh, PA, individuals have multiple needs beyond a one-time fix. Many of these individuals do not quality for other assistance programs. To address this, the agency is expanding case management to include mobile case management, workforce development, and financial literacy classes. The agency is also seeing an increase in homeless individuals age 18 and up, especially pregnant homeless women.

Disaster preparedness and response is also a priority for Catholic Charities. In Corpus Christi, TX, recent disasters have led to a 35% increase in requests for assistance. Southwest Louisiana is hoping for a quiet hurricane season and a quick resolution to the oil spill disaster. Catholic Charities of Tennessee’s latest challenge has been locating funds to cover expenses from the recent floods.

The jobless recovery
With the national unemployment rate holding steady at a startling 9.6 percent, it’s not surprising that 71% of local agencies report an increase in the working poor needing help. Barriers vary from state to state, but overall agencies identify the following stumbling blocks: • • • Lack of jobs with a livable wage –78% Need for training/skills – 73% Lack of jobs – 66% • • Need for transportation – 63% Lack of childcare – 44%

“We are challenged to find employment for the refugee clients. Helping these clients become selfsufficient is taking much longer due to the lack of available jobs for limited skilled workers,” states Linda Franks, Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte, NC. “The lack of jobs results in longer stays in transitional housing and job programs,” states Patty Wilder, Catholic Charities of Minneapolis & St. Paul. Despite the challenges, 39% of responding agencies indicate they do have job training programs: • • • • In the Virgin Islands, Catholic Charities’ collaboration with the Department of Human Services has led to the development of a job readiness training and placement program. To date 57 individuals have been placed in jobs. Jacksonville, FL, offers a job readiness program through the agency’s Refugee Resettlement Program. Options for Change, a program out of Pueblo, CO, focuses on core values and life choices and prepares students for more specific job training. In Nashville, TN, Catholic Charities has been fortunate to receive grants that include job training and placement services. The agency also maintains an effective job bank.

More State Budget Cuts: “A disaster waiting to happen”
With State budget cuts on the horizon and corporate and individual donations down, agencies face an overwhelming financial crisis: • “The California state budget is the largest looming disaster waiting to happen. The impact on our agency will be modest, but the impact on the people we serve could be huge, and the domino effect is anyone’s guess.” Jeff Bialik, Catholic Charities CYO, San Francisco “State funding for senior services has been reduced. The wait for services has increased, case load size has increased, and continuing unfunded governmental mandates burden the system.” Deb Darzinskis, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet, IL “The proposed state and city budget situations are dire. Programs may close, staff will be cut and service needs will go unmet, causing greater problems in the long-term.” Robert Siebel, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens “With lack of state funding, we have had to lay off 30 people for FY 2010/2011.” Mark Totaro, Catholic Charities, Harrisburg, PA “As of July 1, 2010, we were forced to reduce our workforce by 29 staff positions due to cuts in funding at the state level. For the second year we were not able to give a cost of living increase and we raised employee contributions for health care benefits. If this continues, we will no longer be competitive in the social service community and may lose staff.” Marianne Majewski, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen “We are only providing short term assistance, keeping people afloat. We don’t have the resources to provide more holistic, long term case management.” Joe Mahoney, Catholic Charities, Pueblo, CO

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Overall, agencies are forced to make changes due to the economic situation: • • • 68% are increasing fund raising efforts 59% are using more volunteers 56% are sharing resources with other community service providers

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51% are redeploying staff 50% are cutting operational costs 49% are scaling down

In Joliet, IL, the phones are ringing off the hook, with staff unable to meet the demand. Earlier this year, overworked staff were required to take four unpaid furlough days in order to balance the budget. In Newark, NJ, on average, 167 emergency assistance calls go unanswered at the end of each month.

Moving beyond the crisis
Catholic Charities’ deep and steadfast commitment to reduce poverty enables local agencies to move forward, even in troubled times. While programs are closing and services are being cut, agencies are using their creativity and resourcefulness to provide solace and hope for the millions of Americans in need. Catholic Charities’ staying power in every community is a beacon of hope. Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, TX, is able to meet challenges by reaching out to the community and using internal resources. “We continue to address cases on a one-on-one basis, but we combine our various departments’ resources in order to provide an effective delivery system,” said Linda McKamie. Recently, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in San Juan, TX, received TRIAD (Texas Resources for Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment) funding for Military Relief Projects. “We are honored to provide these services to families who are struggling due to their family member’s deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan,” said Sr. Leticia Benavides. “Volunteers have completed outdoor spring cleaning projects and indoor facility projects, bringing cost savings to the agency,” stated Patty Wilder, Catholic Charities of St. Paul & Minneapolis. “Due to increased community support and efforts to end hunger, donations of free and low-cost foods increased from $1.5 million to $2 million.” Although Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has seen a decrease in funding from corporations and state government and notes that their ability to serve is “severely strained,” they have seen an increase in donations from foundations wanting to support organizations like Catholic Charities. The agency is also finding support from volunteers, triaging calls and assisting walk-ins. In Youngstown, OH, Catholic Charities is looking for new ways to organize to meet the needs of a changing society. The agency is focusing on programs that provide emergency assistance and that strengthen families. According to Rachel Hrbolich, “Part of this re-focusing is the investigation of ways to move beyond solving the immediate crisis and helping people obtain the resources, skills and social supports to help them out of poverty.”

Catholic Charities’ deep and steadfast commitment to reduce poverty enables local agencies to move forward, even in troubled times.

Sixty-Six Canal Center Plaza, Suite 600, Alexandria, VA 22314 www.CatholicCharitiesUSA.org

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