Survey compiles services by Catholic Charities

YOUNGSTOWN — The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown recently completed the 2018 Catholic Charities USA annual survey, an instrument that gathers information on the ministries, services, finances, personnel, volunteers, and other mission-related activities of Catholic Charities across the nation over the past year.

Three institutions in the Diocese participated in the survey: Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County; Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties; and Catholic Charities Regional Agency, serving Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Rachel Hrbolich, diocesean director with Catholic Charities, said 39,496 people received assistance from Catholic Charities in 2018. The majority (60 percent) were assisted with food, rent, transportation, prescriptions, clothing and other basic needs, she said.

Catholic Charities provided food pantries, nutrition education programs, senior home-delivered and on-site meals, and assistance with SNAP (food stamp) enrollment to more than 8,700 people in order to increase their access to nutritious food, she said.

The organization 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, Hrbolich said.

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 3 and younger.

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,” Hrbolich said.

Catholic Charities’ services also helped nearly 2,000 families work toward financial self-sufficiency. Financial education / literacy, financial coaching, and volunteer income tax assistance were some of the ways that Catholic Charities engaged with clients to help them develop a realistic household budget and maximize resources and benefits.

The agency provided housing counseling, housing search and information, emergency rental assistance, and limited down payment assistance to first time homebuyers to help more than 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.

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.

All Catholic Charities’ services were delivered by a staff of 63 employees and 227 volunteers.

The Annual Bishop’s Appeal provides about 40 percent of the funding for Catholic Charities’ ministries and services. Other funding comes from the government grants and contracts; contributions, fund raising and donations; foundation and private grants; program, client, and miscellaneous fees; and in-kind donations.

“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. 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 said.

Information about Catholic Charities can be found at www.ccdoy.org.

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