Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown recently completed the 2018 Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) Annual Survey, an instrument that gathers information on the ministries, services, finances, personnel, volunteers, and other mission-related activities of Catholic Charities organizations across the United States over the past year. Three institutions in the Diocese of Youngstown participated in the CCUSA survey: Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County; Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties; and Catholic Charities Regional Agency, serving Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties.
A total of 39,496 people (unduplicated) received assistance from Catholic Charities in 2018. The majority (60%) were assisted with food, rent, transportation, prescriptions, clothing, and other basic needs. Catholic Charities provided food pantries, nutrition education programs, senior home-delivered and on-site meals, and assistance with SNAP (food stamp) enrollment to over 8,700 people in order to increase their access to nutritious food. Catholic Charities also provided almost $300,000 in utility assistance, which remains a significant need among low-income households, particularly during the times of the year when government subsidies are unavailable.
Included in basic needs assistance is First Step, which is an extension of Catholic Charities’ basic needs assistance targeting low-income pregnant women and families with children ages 0-3. First Step offers case management services to help link clients with community resources, information and referrals. Providing the extra level of support and encouragement through case management is critical to helping families transition out of poverty.
In addition to offering tangible assistance to meet immediate needs, Catholic Charities also provided services to help nearly 2,000 families work toward financial self-sufficiency. Financial education/literacy, financial coaching, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) were some of the ways that Catholic Charities engaged with clients to help them develop a realistic household budget and maximize their resources and benefits. Clients typically received financial self-sufficiency assistance in conjunction with other agency services in order to holistically address the scope of need, and establish a foundation for sustainable changes and long-term success.
Assisting clients with accessing and maintaining stable, affordable housing was a key priority for Catholic Charities in 2018. The benefits of quality, stable housing have been well documented, and Catholic Charities has witnessed that when families are adequately housed, children perform better in school and adults are in a better position to begin planning for the future.
Catholic Charities provided housing counseling, housing search and information, emergency rental assistance, and limited down payment assistance to first time homebuyers to help over 1,200 families avoid a crisis or move ahead in establishing greater self-sufficiency. Approximately $450,000 was offered in rental assistance to qualifying clients in 2018. Seventy-five percent (75%) of those receiving help with rent remained stably housed after three months.
Catholic Charities’ outreach to 1,700 homeless individuals helped to ensure that compassionate care, tangible assistance, information, and service linkages with other community resources were extended to those struggling with homelessness and other issues that compromised their health, safety and well-being.
In addition to basic needs and housing-related assistance, Catholic Charities offered a number of specific services to 3,700 older adults throughout the diocese, including outreach to homebound seniors, case management, transportation, senior center services, adult day care services, guardianship, and representative payee services, which also benefit low-income, at-risk younger adults. These particular services varied by Catholic Charities location in accordance with local needs and available resources.
The Catholic Charities system in the Diocese of Youngstown also extended the following services last year:
- domestic violence shelter, services, and outreach;
- foster and kinship caregiver supportive services;
- health insurance enrollment assistance and referrals;
- educational programming to break the cycle of poverty and to prevent child abuse and neglect through positive parenting skills;
- school-based sexual abstinence education;
- adoption information, referral and search services;
- socialization and support for at-risk populations.
All Catholic Charities’ services were delivered by a staff of 63 employees and 227 volunteers.
The Annual Bishop’s Appeal provides approximately 40% of the funding for Catholic Charities’ ministries and services. Other funding comes from the government grants and contracts at the local, state, and federal levels; contributions, fund raising and donations; foundation and private grants; program, client, and miscellaneous fees; and in-kind donations. These funding sources total just over $5 million for the three Catholic Charities agencies included in the report.
“Completing the CCUSA Annual Survey each year provides a great opportunity to reflect on the strength of our Catholic Charities system in the Diocese of Youngstown,” states Rachel Hrbolich, Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities.
“I am proud of the efforts put forth by our Catholic Charities agencies to proclaim Christ through their expression of hospitality, compassion, and service; their respect for the dignity of all people, regardless of their circumstances or faith; and their stewardship of the funds entrusted to them for the benefit of others,” Hrbolich continues.
For more information concerning the 2018 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey, contact Rachel Hrbolich at 330-744-8451, ext. 328 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about Catholic Charities can be found by visiting www.ccdoy.org.