By Alice Kenny
Battling nearly a foot of snow, Catholic Charities New York representatives organized a show of force in Albany on February 9 – 10 to persuade state leaders to expand Governor Cuomo’s proposed plan to combat poverty.
They joined local Catholic Charities affiliated agencies along with the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors that represent all eight dioceses across the state.
The troops maximized their strength on these two frigid days by meeting with every human services chair person in both houses of the legislature and with representatives from the governor’s office.
Their goal, to battle back inequality, was overwhelming. But their plan to fund it was simple.
New York State received more than $5 billion in recent settlements with banks accused of misconduct. Surely, they reasoned, a significant percentage of this windfall should be earmarked for the one out of five impoverished families in New York State.
Catholic Charities requests included:
- Amplify the Governor’s proposed program to target investments in capital projects to improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility and reach of nonprofits serving New Yorkers
- Provide adequate funding for vulnerable populations including foster children served by Medicaid Managed Care
- Increase funding for post adoption services and child welfare agencies
- Address soaring rates of homelessness and hunger by increasing funds for supportive housing, homeless prevention services, emergency food and outreach programs
- Raise the minimum wage and expand the Unemployment Strikeforce to help the unemployed find work
- Push back recent cutbacks in services for the physically and emotionally challenged by providing significant funds for permanent and supported housing
- Help undocumented immigrants become taxpaying members of society by enabling them to apply for state college tuition and education tax credits; expand the Office of New American Opportunity Centers that provide immigrant services and increase funds to help unaccompanied minor children seeking to reunify with family members.
“Thank you for assisting all of us to give voice to the needs of those who are poor and most vulnerable,” Catholic Charities Diocese of Buffalo Director Sr. Mary McCarrick said to Luz Tavarez-Salazar, Catholic Charities NY’s Director of Government and Community Relations who helped organize the event. “Now we pray those voices will be heard by our New York State government.”
Check out these event photos on FaceBook.