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Quarterly Snapshot Survey Finds Increase in Requests for Help from Families, Children and Working Poor
More than 88% of local Catholic Charities Agencies Report Maintaining Waiting Lists or Having to Turn People Away for At least one of their Programs or Services
Alexandria, VA—Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), one of the nation’s largest human services organizations, released the findings of its 2011 3rd Quarter Snapshot Survey today. The survey results showed, among other startling statistics, that the majority of local agencies are seeing an increase in requests for help this quarter from families and children, as well as the working poor. “We must remember that this data represents the millions of individuals living in poverty in communities across the country,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA. “It is not enough to help these individuals survive, we must help them thrive. The greatest challenge for many of our agencies continues to be the large number of families and individuals seeking food and financial assistance.” This is especially true around the holiday season, as food pantries face increased demand and some struggle to keep enough food stocked to meet the needs of individuals that seek assistance. The findings mirror the trends in national census data showing an increase in individuals living in poverty in communities across the country. “CCUSA remains committed to providing the vital services that make up this nation’s safety net and it remains imperative that we continue to identify strategies to do so in a more economically sustainable way.” Candy Hill, Sr. Vice President, Social Policy and Government Affairs stated. “These survey findings are further proof that we need to continue to work to find ways to better serve individuals in need.” Additional key findings include: The majority of agencies reported an increase in requests for help relative to the previous quarter from the working poor (80%), families (66%), homeless (60%), and the middle class (59%). These trends did not vary substantially across regions or between agencies that selfidentified as serving primarily urban, suburban, or rural populations. More than 88% of local agencies report that they maintained a waiting list or had to turn people away for at least one of their programs or services. 64% of agencies could not meet the need they faced for emergency financial assistance last quarter. 56% of agencies were unable to meet the needs of those who came to them seeking utility assistance. 67% of agencies in southern states struggled to help those who suffered from extended drought and heat waves.
The online survey was distributed to CCUSA’s 166 member agencies during October 2011 to measure programs and services provided between July 1 and September 30, 2011. Responses were received from 62 local agencies from 33 different states who collectively serve more than 4 million clients annually. About Catholic Charities USA Catholic Charities USA is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope for more than 10 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing.