Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

Immigrant Public Defender System Pays for Itself

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Celine and Refugee Family 002“Every year, tens of thousands of people appear in immigration court to fight deportation orders without a lawyer to assist them,” writes Reporter Kirk Semple in a recent article published in The New York Times. “Many are poor and adrift, unable to speak English or understand the laws determining their fate.”

Yet according to a study just released by the New York Bar Association that Mr. Semple describes, a system that provided legal counsel for every poor immigrant facing deportation would pay for itself through decreased government expenditures and other savings.

“It makes the argument for the first time that appointed counsel is cost-effective, as well as being fair and just,” said Mark Noferi, a fellow at the Center for Migration Studies, who advised National Economic Research Associates (NERA) on the report.

Catholic Charities knows firsthand the value of providing free or affordable legal counsel. For over thirty years, Catholic Charities has stood with New York’s immigrants—low-income and indigent, non-Catholics and Catholics alike—who face deportation in the courts, in local detention facilities, and, most recently, in custodial shelters for unaccompanied children where we serve almost 2,000 children each year.

We understand that deportation can be a far worse punishment than most criminal penalties, one that might mean the loss of family, home and security. Every week, in shelter facilities for unaccompanied youth across the New York area, our team of lawyers and paralegals encounter many of the thousands of children in the United States who have fled alone, from abuse and violence in their homelands and who seek the comfort of a parent or loved one here.

Every month at our offices downtown, we meet and defend newcomers and long-time residents against unjust deportation proceedings. Some had all their money taken by unscrupulous or unlawful practitioners.  Some have been tangled for years in a legal system that is among the most complex and under-resourced in the nation. Some are profoundly disoriented from just arriving to the United States after fleeing persecution or violence. Almost all are exhausted and without hope.

The legal consultation, representation, and assistance Catholic Charities provides  each day is what immigrants need to rebuild their lives. It is what creates hope and a just and compassionate society.

Services are provided in English, Spanish, French, Romanian, Polish, Albanian, Japanese, and Arabic.

All matters are treated professionally and confidentially.

If you have a question about an immigration matter, please call us at the New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636.

For help finding other services, please call our Catholic Charities Help line at 888-744-7900.

Read the full cost-analysis study.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

 

New Mom Tweets Big News

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

PCC ImagesmallBy Alice Kenny

In just 140 characters, Maria used the hashtag “Mom” to announce this week the huge news that she celebrated her parenting class graduation from Catholic Charities affiliate, Good Counsel Homes,  just in time for the arrival of her baby.

#mom Maria celebrated her @CathCharitiesNY #parenting class graduation just in time for the arrival of her #baby! pic.twitter.com/gfjRwPJkEK

Good Counsel is more than a shelter for homeless, pregnant women.  It is a supportive and loving home where the needs of the women served are met immediately and for the long term.  Programs each mom has access to are provided with the ultimate goal of leaving Good Counsel, affording each mom with the life skills training she needs to never be homeless again.  Programs include budgeting and vocational assistance, nutrition, guidance and, most important for Maria, parenting classes.

Congratulations, Maria, for graduating from Good Counsel’s Parenting Class.

All our best for you and your new baby!

While this is a happy ending, most come to Good Counsel with very tough starts.

Check out live testimonies from women helped by Good Counsel in this new video.

Every day women are abused, neglected, and lacking in maternity care and support. But there is hope: Good Counsel’s door is always open for any pregnant woman in crisis. Since 1985 it has been a home to more than 6,000 mothers and children.

Learn more about Good Counsel Homes.

Telemundo Reports Puerto Rican Parade Plans to Team with Catholic Charities to Feed the Hungry

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade to be held on June 8 under the themes of art, culture and education will also provide a chance to collect food to benefit members of this community who have no food in their homes, reports Telemundo Atlantico.

The Office of Puerto Rican Affairs along with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York called for two days of community service by holding food drives through the Archdiocesan-wide Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign.

Non-perishable food donations can be made at two of the events leading up to the parade; on May 31 at the 152 Street Festival, home to the largest Puerto Rican community in New York, and on June 1 at the annual Parade Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The goal is to raise enough funds to provide one million meals for the hungry.

Food collected will be donated under the direction of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to food banks working with Catholic Charities.

The organization asked the public to hold food drives in churches, workplaces and schools. In addition, the GOYA Corporation plans to donate 5000 pounds of food.

Want to find out more about the upcoming National Puerto Rican Day Parade?

Read the full story in Spanish in Telemundo.

Learn more about Feeding Our Neighbors, an Archdiocesan-wide drive to replenish food pantries supporting non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Msgr. Sullivan Supports Mayor de Blasio’s Just-Announced Plan to Fight Homelessness

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

FLOWERS10169Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration detailed plans on May 19, 2014  to expand and create what is described as the largest and most proven homelessness prevention program in the nation.  The plan, announced by Commissioner Gilbert Taylor at the budget hearing before the New York City Council, focuses on reducing homelessness, transitioning homeless families from shelter into permanent housing, and improving shelter conditions.

Catholic Charities, long a leader in preventing homelessness and serving the homeless, supports this plan.

“With today’s announcement, the Mayor has taken an important and necessary step in addressing this crisis,” said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  “This multi-faceted plan includes programmatic and funding commitments to protect families from losing their homes, while creating housing opportunities for those who currently have little recourse but to spend their nights in shelters.  It contains concrete solutions to help vulnerable populations.”

Specifically, the plan:

 •    Proposes creation of two rent subsidy plans that will assist working families who have been in shelter for more than a year and vulnerable populations

 •    Utilizes targeted supportive housing for high needs populations

 •    Reaffirms the administration’s commitment to assess, improve, and reimagine shelter models to better serves families and individuals before they seek shelter, address their needs while in shelter, and strategically plans for families exiting shelter

•    Invests in better outcomes for homeless households as they achieve independence, creates and develops higher quality shelters with better targeted programming throughout the system, and it reduces reliance on shelter models that do not encourage supportive environments.

 “The blight of homelessness causes suffering to far too many New Yorkers,” Msgr. Sullivan added.  “It is unacceptable.”

Church Ready to Help Solve Housing Crisis

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

churchhousingBy RON LAJOIE

“As New York City sets forth on an ambitious task of creating 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years, the archdiocese stands as a ready, willing and able partner,” reports Ron Lajoie in Catholic New York.

That is the message Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, delivered to Mayor Bill de Blasio, on behalf of Cardinal Dolan, when the mayor unveiled his $41 billion joint initiative to refurbish or create new housing for middle- and low-income New Yorkers across the five boroughs May 5.
In announcing his support for the mayor’s plan, Cardinal Dolan had said that creating affordable housing for all New Yorkers was nothing less than a human rights issue.
‘New York City’s current crisis of housing affordability threatens the basic human right to decent housing,’ Cardinal Dolan said in a statement.
Msgr. Sullivan,who was at the news conference representing Cardinal Dolan, pointed to the more than 50 years experience the archdiocese has had in creating, constructing, preserving and rehabilitating housing for the poor, working families, seniors and those with special needs.
Through its parishes and committed clergy, religious communities, and Catholic Charities and its affiliated community-based organizations, the Church has created more than 6,000 units of affordable housing for New Yorkers.
‘We offer the city a number of things,’ explained Msgr. Sullivan during an interview with CNY in his 11th floor office at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. ‘One of the very fundamental things we offer is our belief that every person is made in the image of God and deserves certain basic necessities. One of them is our belief that basic housing is a human right.
Secondly, very practically, we begin from the fact that we have put that into practice by the development and preservation of housing, which requires a certain amount of commitment and expertise and requires being around for the long term. We are an organization that has been around here for centuries and, if I might say this, we plan to be around until Jesus comes again…
The third thing we offer, and the cardinal has indicated this, is we have changing use of church facilities, so that as populations shift and we don’t need some of our properties for certain things there are new possibilities.’

Read the full story in Catholic New York.

Blind but Now I See

Monday, May 19th, 2014

‘Never in its nearly 90-year history had the National Braille Press undertaken a project as large as the one it completed in 2011,’ writes James Sullivan this recent Boston Globe article.

Creating a Braille edition of the 1,600-page “New American Bible,’’ with its freshly approved revisions by the US Catholic Bishops Conference, was something else entirely.

Commissioned by New York’s Xavier Society for the Blind, the full run, destined for private homes, consisted of 150 copies. To mark the occasion, a set was presented to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2011.

An affiliate of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Xavier Society for the Blind was founded in 1900 by the Jesuit priest, Rev. Joseph Stadelman, SJ, and a group of lay women as the only Catholic publishing house to make writings on religion and spirituality available to the blind.

One of its first major undertakings was to transcribe the Bible into Braille. It also became the first to transcribe the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church into Braille.

Now, as it receives U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approval, it adds Braille translations of Scripture, readings and prayers. By adding large print, records, audio cassette and most recently digital formats to its Braille offerings free of charge, Xavier Society for the Blind continues its pioneering mission of providing services so that those without sight may see.

Although the Xavier Society paid about $1,400 per copy to produce “The New American Bible,” these books are given away to families with a certified sightless person in the household, says Margaret O’Brien, the organization’s operations manager.

She adds that although mainstreaming of blind children into public schools, which began in earnest in the 1970s, served an undeniable social benefit, it significantly hurt Braille literacy. Literacy rates for blind students plunged from 50-60 percent to about 12 percent today, says National Braile Press president Brian MacDonald.

Meanwhile, with technological advances such as talking books and screen-reader software, students were being told they would no longer need to read Braille.

‘We know today that was a big mistake,’ said MacDonald.

Seventy-four percent of blind adults are unemployed, he said. Of those who do have jobs, the vast majority are Braille readers.

‘There’s such a strong correlation,’ he said. ‘Investing in kids understanding Braille is an investment in them becoming taxpayers, ultimately. That’s a big deal.’

Learn  more about Xavier Society for the Blind.

Find out about the breadth of programs Catholic Charities provides for people facing physical and emotional challenges.

Read the full story in the Boston Globe.

Catholic Charities Joins Forces with Fellow Faith Leaders to Fight Poverty

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Joshua Scott – FPWA Images

“For the first time, three religious charity umbrella groups in New York are joining forces to study government policies and programs designed to help people living in poverty in the hopes of finding better solutions to the problem and helping really change lives,” reports Theresa Agovino in Crain’s New York yesterday May 15, 2014.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, and the UJA Federation of New York have worked on jointly providing services over the years, but their latest endeavor is taking a new turn. Two months ago, the trio tapped the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based social and economic and policy research group, to review various government poverty programs, with an emphasis on city programs, to learn more about what is effective. They paid $125,000 for the study and hope to have results in two months. The executive said that it was still too soon to say how they would use the results of the study because they aren’t sure what it will uncover.

Together the groups have a network of more than 400 nonprofits that offer a wide range of services including providing food, housing and job training to a total of nearly six million people. Many of those nonprofits receive city funding and work with government agencies on various programs.

‘We may have different theologies, but we each share the tradition of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and housing the homeless,’ said John Ruskay, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the UJA.

Despite all of the good works these groups and others provide, poverty in the city remains stubbornly high. The poverty rate in New York City was essentially unchanged at 21% from 2010 to 2012, but that’s up from 19% in 2008, according to the New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity, which works to fight poverty.

‘We want to see how we can change the outcomes,’ said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities. ‘Maybe certain programs need to be scaled up or offered together. How can we do better?’

Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer and executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, said she heard about a similar study being conducted in Wisconsin and thought it would be a good idea to create one for the city to help inform public policy. She opted to reach out to her counterparts to amplify her voice.

‘We are all distinguished and respected in our own rights,’ said Ms. Jones Austin, who served as co-chair of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team along with Carl Weisbrod. ‘I believe that with the three of us people will be really listening at city hall.’

It is unacceptable in our wealthy city and nation that one out of five New Yorkers now lives below the poverty line, scrambling to feed and house their hungry children.

“Poverty and its effects afflicts too many of our neighbors in New York,” Msgr. Sullivan said as he discussed this interfaith initiative.

“I look forward to reporting back to you on the Urban Institute’s findings. This study will hopefully serve to enhance our work and our impact on those most in need.”

Follow us here on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of the latest findings.

Read the full story here in Crain’s New York.

Teens Solve Murder Mystery

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By Alice Kennystudents-science

The Washington Heights teens had a murder to solve.

  •      The Victim: a female college student.
  •      The Suspects:  a classmate, a tutor and a boyfriend.
  •      The Clues:
    •      skin fragments, perhaps the murderers, beneath the victims fingernails
    •      blood on the furniture
    •      foot prints on the carpet.

The investigators, nearly two dozen high school students in all, piled into a bus that brought them from Washington Heights where per-capita income is half the New York average to the forensic lab at Stony Brook, one of the top state universities in New York.

The students participate in the Catholic Charities Alianza Division GPS-GW program at the High School for Media and Communications.  The program provides key support to promote higher education for low-income teens.  The event, hosted by Catholic Charities Alianza Division and sponsored by Stony Brook Center for Science and Math Education and the United Way, was designed to encourage these teens to consider as a career the up-and-coming field of biotechnology.

To solve the murder mystery, students applied the scientific method.  They evaluated evidence, formed a hypothesis, planned and performed experiments and analyzed results.

So who was the murderer?  Not again!

You guessed it… the boyfriend.

Homeless Share Their Stories at Lincoln Center

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Hear riveting first-hand stories from people who experienced homelessness  at Speakers’ Night at Fordham University, Lincoln Center tonight, Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.

Find out about their experiences and their hopes.

Join us for a memorable evening as homeless men and women share efforts to rebuild their lives.   The evening is part of Catholic Charities Education Outreach Program that empowers these speakers to move from hopelessness to homes and hope.

Where:  Fordham University, Lincoln Center, Chapel 2nd floor, Room 221, 113 W. 60 St. (Corner of 9th Avenue) NYC.

No need to RSVP.