Archive for March, 2013

Another Family Faces Homelessness. This One Finds Help and Hope.

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Julissa Matias

By Alice Kenny

As housing prices continue rising in New York City while salaries at the low end of the pay scale stagnate, homelessness among working families has hit an all-time high. Augustina and her three toddlers, ages two, three and six, were about to join these homeless ranks.

The young mother’s $50-per-day income from her work as a home health aide had been stretched too thin for too long. Even with food stamps, she could not earn enough to pay for child care, clothing, and her Harlem apartment’s $1100 monthly rent. She owed nearly $12,000 to her landlord.

Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to statistics compiled by the Coalition for the Homeless. January 2013 set an all-time record with 50,100 homeless people. Twelve thousand homeless families including 21,000 homeless children who sleep each night in the New York City municipal shelter system comprise nearly three-quarters of the homeless shelter population. The overwhelming majority of these families holds jobs, such as Augustina, and fall behind in their rent after experiencing sudden medical costs, a death in the family, or loss of a job.

When Augustina first turned for help to the Catholic Charities Eviction Prevention Program she was terrified, she said. She had already been referred from one social service program. It seemed that time had run out.

Fortunately, she met Julissa Matias, site supervisor of the Catholic Charities Eviction Prevention Program at Waverly Job Center.

“It’s very rare that a family comes in that we cannot assist either by getting them FEPs (New York City’s Family Eviction Prevention Supplement) to help cover ongoing rent, obtain funding to cover rental arrears, or help find an apartment they can afford,” Ms. Matias said.

“But paying these families’ arrears is not enough,” she added. “They must be helped on to a sound footing where they can independently meet their future expenses.”

She was determined, she said, to provide this footing for Augustina and her children.

Augustina told Ms. Matias that she had been through hard times throughout her life. She no longer held out hope that anyone would help her.

So when Augustina learned that Catholic Charities would stand by her, she began to sob, Ms. Matias said. Through Catholic Charities Eviction Prevention Program, Ms Matias arranged for Augustina to receive a $2500 grant from a private organization. She helped her successfully apply for $7000 in FEPS funding. She bolstered Augustina’s confidence to ask her extended family for a $4000 loan. And she is using $1100 in Catholic Charities funds to pay back the remaining rental deficit.

Now, thanks to this help, Augustina and her children no longer wake up at night worried they might wind up on the street. They live in an apartment they know is their home.

“I have dealt with a lot of people in human service departments and Ms. Matias is the most professional, helpful, compassionate and kind person I’ve ever encountered,” Augustina said. “She gave me hope when so many gave me despair.”

At Catholic Charities in any given year:

6,981 families are saved from homelessness
1,487 people are placed in temporary or transitional apartments
6,109  families find affordable housing.

Click here to find a Catholic Charities agency that offers eviction prevention services.
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line at 888-744-7900 for assistance finding the services you need.

Pope Francis: A Home Run for Catholic Charities.

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Presidência da Republica/Roberto Stuckert Filho

By Alice Kenny

On the eve of Pope Francis’ inauguration, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan went live in a special radio broadcast of JustLove taking in listener calls from across the nation as he reflected on what the election of Pope Francis means for Catholics around the world.

“The election of Pope Francis has focused on the vitality of the Church when we focus on the basics of our faith.” Msgr. Sullivan said. “There is no better time than Holy Week when we celebrate the center of the Catholic faith: death and resurrection of Jesus. We begin these holy days with the example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. ”

From New York to Alabama and spots in between, callers, young and old, phoned to register their excitement about Pope Francis and, in particular, his emphasis on serving those in need.

“I’m thrilled that Pope Francis is focused on service to the poor and to outreach to all people,” said Steve, a caller from New Jersey.

Catholic Charities Director of Peace and Justice Tom Dobbins, who co-hosted the show, agreed.

“When he came out saying he wants us to be a church of the poor for the poor,” Tom said, “wow – as someone who works for Catholic Charities – that was a home run.”

Listen to their conversation on JustLove  on The Catholic Channel 129, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

Warning: Many Agencies Advertise Fraudulent Help for Immigrants. Contact Catholic Charities for Reputable Help.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

By Alice Kenny

  • Catholic Charities can help immigrants learn whether they are eligible for authorization to work legally in the United States and can help them apply for such authorization if eligible.
  • WARNING: Many agencies will advertise that they are able to get work documents for immigrants who lack legal immigration status.
  • These practices are fraudulent and could lead to deportation.
  • It is very important to get advice from a qualified, and reputable individual or organization to make sure that the work authorization document you apply for is valid.

Call the New York State (NYS) New Americans Hotline: 1-212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (toll-free in NYS) for more information.

Click here to learn more about the New Americans Hotline.

Click here to find a Catholic Charities agency that can help you determine if you are eligible for work authorization.

Check out the New Americans website just announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at  www.newamericans.ny.gov 

 

Thrift Store Closing Sale: Everything Must Go!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The Thrift Store is closing its doors on Wednesday, March 27.

That means deep discounts and deals galore.

 Where?

Catholic Charities Community Services Thrift Store
402 East 152nd Street, Bronx, NY 10455

When?

Store Hours 
Monday-Thursday 9am to 3pm
Friday & Saturday 9am to 5pm

Heads Up:  Fixtures, displays and supplies will still be available for sale after closing day.

 

Shop Online Anytime! Click on links below:

Shop CCCS Etsy Thrift Store Shop CCCS Ruby Lane Thrift Store Shop on CCCS Amazon thrift store Shop on CCCS eBay Thrift Store

Donate your vehicle: www.catholiccharitiesny.org/donateyourvehicle

Comments & Questions: cccsthriftstore@archny.org

Galileo and the Catholic Church

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Join fellow young adults for fun, camaraderie and a rousing discussion about the Italian astronomer Galileo and the Catholic Church this Monday, March 25, at Theology-on-Tap NYC.

Theology-on-Tap NYC is an opportunity for young adults to explore issues and topics that relate to the Catholic faith in a fun and casual environment.

Events begin at 7:30pm and end around 9pm.

All talks are held at Connolly’s Bar, 121 West 45th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, 3rd floor.

No need to RSVP!

No admission cost!

We welcome donations of canned goods to help feed hungry New Yorkers through the Feeding our Neighbors campaign!

Just come and grab a seat or a bar stool, but get there early as seats fill up quickly.

Click here for more information.

Need to know what canned goods to  donate? Click here for ideas.

Building Bridges by Feeding Our Neighbors

Monday, March 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Feeding Our Neighbors, an Archdiocesan effort throughout 10 counties to fight hunger, celebrated the tremendous participation of Catholic schools among others during its second annual campaign with an Art Exhibition and Awards Presentation at the New York Catholic Center on East 55th Street in Manhattan on March 13.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan joined with Dr. Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, and Dan Ahouse, Cablevision Area Director of Government Affairs, to welcome participants and announce awards.

“As we celebrate this wonderful transition and election of Pope Francis, we remember that one of his titles is called Pontifex, a word that simply means the builder of bridges,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan at the event.

“The pope builds bridges,” Msgr. Sullivan continued. “The Catholic Church builds bridges. And Feeding Our Neighbors has built bridges because of the participation of so many.”

Students at local Catholic schools competed in the Feeding Our Neighbor Art Contest. Awardees included Syleste Alexander, a student at St. Teresa School in Staten Island, Omar Reyes, a student at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx and Anna Nicotra, a student at St. Augustine School in Ossining.

High School students also competed in the Cablevision Power to Learn Competition that raised food and funds for hungry New Yorkers. Students representing Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx won the competition. They donated their $6,000 award to their favorite charities; $5,000 to their high school and $1,000 to Catholic Charities.

The Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign is a response to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s call that we all do our part to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens that growing numbers of families and children in our communities rely on to survive. Sponsored by Catholic organizations throughout the Archdiocese of New York and managed by Catholic Charities, contributions to the campaign support local food pantries that serve New Yorkers non-Catholic and Catholic alike. Now in its second year, Feeding Our Neighbors joined forces this season with UJA Federation of New York to fight hunger and need.

  • In New York City, approximately 400,000 children rely on soup kitchens and food pantries for food.
  • In New York State, more than 3 million people rely on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps) to meet their basic food needs.

Join us in Feeding Our Neighbors.

Click here to do your part to make sure no hungry neighbor is turned away.

  • $11.16 helps feed a child for one day.
  • $45 helps feed a family of four.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Catholic Charities Project Irish Outreach

Friday, March 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Project Irish Outreach

Services provided:  Information, referral and advocacy is offered on a variety of matters including social service entitlements, Medicaid and Medicare information/referral, maternity services, addiction prevention and treatment, crisis intervention and pastoral counseling.

Where:  The Aisling Irish Center, 990 McLean Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10467.

When:  Sr. Christine Hennessy, a social worker at the center, is available for confidential consultations from Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm.

For more information:  Contact: Sr. Christine Hennessy –Aisling Center, Yonkers

Phone: 914-237-5121
Fax: 914-237-5172

E-mail: sr.christine.hennessy@archny.org

 

Background:

  • Project Irish Outreach is based in mid-town Manhattan at the Catholic Center.
  • Confidential information, including information and referral on legal immigration matters, social services and entitlements, maternity services, and crisis intervention is provided.
  • Legal immigration representation is available in Catholic Charities Department of Immigration Services.
  • To prepare for any future legalization program, ask about ways that you can stay informed and be ready, should legalization be signed into law sometime in the future.

Confidential immigration information is also available from the New York State Immigration Hotline located at the Catholic Center.  Call  1(800) 566-7636

 

Annual College and Career Day at The High School for Media & Communications

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

On Wednesday, March 13th, Catholic Charities Alianza Division sponsored the Annual College and Career Day at The High School for Media & Communications to promote higher education among young people in the Washington Heights school community.

Throughout the day, volunteers spoke to classes about their careers and backgrounds and answered questions about their day-to-day work, motivating students to be excited about their education and job prospects and encouraging them to think about their futures.

On Thursday, more volunteers gave career presentations to students at the Innovation Diploma Plus High School Learning to Work program.

What advice would you give to a high school student about preparing for the future?

Here’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s Statement on the Election of Pope Francis

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Read below the full text of his statement:

 

Pope Francis

Statement on the Election of Our Holy Father, Pope Francis

March 13th, 2013

On this joyous day, I issued a statement in my role as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the election of our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Here is the press release:

STATEMENT ON THE ELECTION OF POPE FRANCIS
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN OF NEW YORK
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2013

The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis, marks a great milestone in our church. As successor to Peter, our first pope, Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside.

The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him. Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis.

The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals. With joy in our hearts, we declare “Ad Multos Annos!” (For many years!)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York
President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops