Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown served 17 percent more people last year than it did in 2011, according to the recently completed 2012 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey.
The survey gathers information on services, collaborative efforts, social action initiatives, parish relationships, personnel, finances, and implementation of mission-related activities from Catholic Charities organizations across the United States.
Survey participants were the Catholic Charities administrative office located in the diocesan chancery; Catholic Charities Housing Opportunities; Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County; Catholic Charities serving Portage and Stark counties; and Catholic Charities Regional Agency serving Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Catholic Charities served a total of 55,799 unduplicated clients in the diocese last year, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year. Nearly three-fourths of those served receive some type of public assistance, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, and Medicaid benefits.
Eighty-one percent reported incomes below the federal poverty line, which was $23,050 for a family of four in 2012.
Catholic Charities agencies in the diocese provided more than $1.2 million in direct assistance to clients last year. Also, 26 percent of Catholic Charities’ total operating budget consisted of pass-through funds to clients from grants and contracts with government entities and direct assistance monies from both diocesan and local sources.
Catholic Charities devotes 86 percent of its total budget to programs that meet basic human needs, strengthen families, build communities and empower low-income people. Nine percent of the operating budget is used for administration, well below the national average for nonprofit. Five percent of the budget is devoted to fundraising for programs and services.
Catholic Charities’ top priority is emergency assistance to individuals and families. Last year, 20,204 people were helped with food, utilities, prescriptions, clothing and other basic needs, reflecting a slight increase over the number served in 2011. An additional 3,021 people accessed First Step Pregnancy and Family Support, a program that incorporates material assistance with case management to help pregnant women and families with children from birth to 3 years old.
The need for food represented the greatest increase in Catholic Charities’ emergency assistance program last year, with a 35 percent increase over the previous year. The number of adults 65 and older who are hungry also has increased in recent years.
Catholic Charities agencies have developed small, on-site pantries. Families visiting a Catholic Charities agency for help with food are often given nonperishable food items to meet their immediate need, and/or a food voucher to obtain groceries at a local supermarket.
In addition to emergency assistance to families, Catholic Charities provided services to 3,625 older adults (ages 65 and older) in 2012, an increase of 39 percent over the previous year.
Catholic Charities Housing Opportunities (CCHO) provided assistance to 172 people last year. One hundred thirty-four people received permanent housing at Eastwood Village, an apartment complex on Youngstown’s East Side sponsored by Caritas Communities, a partnership between CCHO and Humility of Mary Housing Inc. CCHO rented four homes to low-income families in Youngstown, and assisted 29 people with down-payment assistance in 2012. Catholic Charities social service agencies provided housing counseling to 642 people.
Catholic Charities in Portage and Stark counties provided safe, affordable housing to 83 people residing in apartment units owned by the agency in Ravenna.
Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services, accredited by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) since 2006, experienced significant growth in 2012. A total of 138 people received help with citizenship applications, family visa petitions, removal proceedings, and legal representation, an increase of 26 percent over 2011.
All of Catholic Charities’ programs in the diocese were delivered by a staff of 64 full-time and 36 part-time employees serving 10 locations. More than 15,000 volunteer hours were contributed by 124 people. An additional 66 people served on agency boards of directors.
For information on the survey, contact Rachel Hrbolich, associate director of social services for Catholic Charities, at 330-744-8451, ext. 328, or go to the website at www.ccdoy.org.