Archive for the ‘Policy and Advocacy’ Category

A Call to Do Better as a City

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Left to Right: Central Park South Skyline and The Auburn Family Residence Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES – THE OPINION PAGES | LETTER

MARCH 3, 2014

To the Editor:

Re “A Packed Forum for a Rising Concern: New Skyscrapers Near Central Park” (news article, Feb. 21) and “400 Children to Be Removed from 2 Shelters” (front page, Feb. 21):

In the eclectic way I look at the morning news, I read these two articles back to back. Two numbers caught my attention: From the first article, apartments selling for as much as $95 million; and from the second article, the cost of two homeless shelter upgrades, $13 million.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. We cannot refrain from demanding that we do better as a city, as a country and as a world. I am not looking to assign blame, but the end result is just plain wrong. I am more interested in identifying those who are willing to be responsible to help right the situation.

We don’t and we won’t live in a perfect world, but we have to do better. As a first step, let’s just reverse the numbers: Cap the apartment at $13 million, and provide $95 million for shelter upgrades. At least then we’d be moving in the right direction.

 

Msgr. KEVIN SULLIVAN
Executive Director, Catholic Charities
Archdiocese of New York

 

Where None Are So Poor They Have Nothing to Give; None So Rich They Have Nothing to Receive

Friday, February 28th, 2014

L-R: Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, John A. Thain, Pat Battle and Catherine Kinney


Check out the inspiring vision Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shared with a packed crowd on Wednesday, February 26, at Catholic Charities annual gala at The Waldorf-Astoria on Wednesday.

During the past year, stock markets have hit a new high.  New York City has a new Mayor. Tragically, new violence and ongoing civil unrest afflict countries with familiar and unfamiliar names, Pope Francis, whom everybody is quoting, has been named Time’s Person of the Year, and in case you hadn’t noticed it’s snowed a bit.    

And through all of this – daily Catholic Charities compassionately and effectively provided emergency meals, prevented evictions, counseled families recovering from Super-Storm Sandy, provided day care for working moms, welcomed immigrants by teaching  English and finding jobs and established a new youth wellness program – and much more. 

Your critical support for Catholic Charities helps to deepen and expand these services, meet unmet and new needs and strengthen a network of some 90 agencies that carries out this vital work in the communities and neighborhoods of greater New York.

Also we have a new buzz word: “inequality.”  For Catholic Charities inequality is not a spiritual catchphrase, nor a political slogan and certainly not a mantra-like wedge to be used to divide us from each other.  For Catholic Charities, inequality is the sad reality that our staff and volunteers encounter every day in our neighbors – a reality that urgently challenges us to come together to build a common good in which the basics – decent housing, nutritious meals, a good job and a supportive and loving family – are had by all. 

Our core belief that every person is made in the image of God demands no less from us.  

Catholic Charities works with individuals who, along with being poor and struggling, have remarkable strengths.  We envision a world of greater solidarity which builds on, and draws from, the strengths and resources of us all -  a world in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give and none too rich that they have nothing to receive.

Find out more about the event and its honorees

Check out these just-released gala photos.

Looking for more inspiration? Watch our just-released video, “Stories of Help & Hope” now.

Congratulations, Donna Corrado!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Photo Credit: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Photo Credit: Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Mayor Bill de Blasio just tapped this former head of Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services in Brooklyn and Queens  to lead New York City’s Department of Aging.

Ms. Corrado kicked off her career with Catholic Charities as an older adult program director before working her way up to chief operating officer.

As a 22-year member of the Catholic Charities community, she brings to her new position our legacy of rebuilding lives, always with compassion and dignity.

Ms. Corrado said her focus would be making the city a better place for the aging where almost a quarter of senior citizens live at or below the poverty line – even with social security benefits.

“This is unacceptable,” she said.  “Our seniors deserve not only respect, but the care and support of our city agencies.”

Watch this video of her appointment now.

 

 

 

Cardinal Dolan and State’s Catholic Bishops Support DREAM Act for College Kids

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS Timothy Cardinal Dolan (right) supports creating a state DREAM Act that will allowing state financial aid to go to college kids of undocumented immigrants. Here, Dolan with Mayor de Blasio.

ALBANY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the state’s Catholic bishops have come out strongly in favor of creating a state DREAM Act allowing state financial aid to go to the college kids of undocumented immigrants, reports the New York Daily News on February 10.*

“It’s one of our top priorities this year,” state Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.

The Catholic Conference, a strong advocate for national immigration reform, views the DREAM Act legislation sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) as something the state can do in the interim.

“New York State, with its history of welcoming immigrants, should be at the forefront of these efforts to support immigrant populations who have contributed so much to the vitality of our state,” the conference said in a memo supporting the bill.

The state Assembly passed the measure last year and is expected to do so again soon. The Republicans who help control the Senate oppose the measure. And there are questions whether there is enough support in an election year for passage, even if the measure did make it to the Senate floor.

Do you need immigration or resettlement assistance, do you hope to go to college, have you been defrauded by an immigration practitioner?

Or do you need any other type of immigration help such as

  • Reuniting with your family
  • Obtaining proper work authorization
  • Learning English and civics
  • Preparing for citizenship exams.

Call the New York State New Americans Hotline  at 800-566-7636.

Manned by Catholic Charities staff,

  • We fielded more than 25,000 calls each year
  • We make over 42,000 referrals to not-for-profit service providers
  • We answer calls in over 100 languages

Click here for more information.

*Read the full story in The New York Daily News.

Msgr. Sullivan Delivers Invocation at City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Inauguration

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan delivered the opening invocation at the inauguration of Melissa Mark-Viverito, the new speaker of the City Council. The ceremony was held on Wednesday evening at Hostos Community College in the Bronx.

Below is the text of Msgr. Sullivan’s “Spirit of Hope” invocation:

God: You are loving, inspiring, challenging and comforting. Be with us in the City that we love and call home as we mark a new beginning filled with hope.

Bless our speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, to lead in a direction that brings together the talents of each to create a City that is more just and compassionate for all — especially for the poorest and most vulnerable of our neighbors.

Bless the members of this City Council to both represent the needs of each community and also collaboratively work for the common good of us all.

Bless and inspire each of us to lend our talents and energy to making this great city even greater for the all who live here.

Be with us with your gentle power so that:

When we go astray, you turn us back to the path of good.

When we do good, you challenge us to do better

When we grow weary and weak, you refresh and strengthen us.

When we divide ourselves for self-interest, you unite us for the common good

Strengthen the families of theBronx.

Protect and nurture the children ofBrooklyn.

Welcome immigrants of Queens,

Feed and house seniors on Staten Island

And in Manhattan help fashion owners, executives and managers of our powerful businesses to be wise and just; and grace those who labor in those businesses to be industrious, conscientious and fairly compensated.

May your light shine on every neighborhood and each street, in every apartment and house, upon all our the institutions: our schools and libraries, parks and playgrounds, our churches, mosques and synagogues, our community organizations and agencies, our buses and our subways; our yellow, green and multi-colored taxis – and so many, many more.  For here in these diverse places is where we your people live and move and have our being each day.

Almighty God, you have made each of us – with our rich and wonderful diversity – in your own image and likeness.  Strengthen us so that we might more clearly see your image in one another and manifest it by how we act.

Permit us one final petition, Almighty God, because of where we stand, about a mile from theBronx’s greatest Cathedral.  Please, God, restore order to the universe and return the World Series and World Championship to us at Yankee Stadium next Fall.

All these blessing we ask – not merely tonight but forever and ever.

Msgr. Sullivan, Senator Gillibrand & Fellow Leaders Take on Food Insecurity

Monday, January 27th, 2014

On Sunday, January 26, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan met with the leaders of other emergency food providers and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at the Food Bank for New York City warehouse in the Bronx.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impending further cuts of billions of dollars to supplemental nutrition assistance programs (SNAP) by the federal government.

The network of Catholic Charities agencies and programs are a significant part of the efforts to address the issue of hunger and food insufficiency.  In fact, the roundtable discussion took place on the same day as the kickoff of Catholic Charities annual Feeding our Neighbors campaign, an archdiocesan–wide effort to replenish food pantries and respond to the overwhelming need in our New York community.

“It’s just sort of a simple, homemade approach to a big problem,” said Cardinal Dolan recently in support of the campaign.   “Everybody talks about hunger and how bad it is, and our politicians argue about it, debate about it, but the faith community said, ‘Let’s do something about it.’ ”

“The meeting confirmed what Catholic Charities has been experiencing across our own network of emergency food programs throughout the communities in the New York metropolitan area,” said Monsignor Sullivan.  “Since November, after cutbacks in support of ongoing nutrition assistance programs [$5 billion nationwide], we have seen a surge in working families visiting our programs.”

In Washington Heights for example, people have begun lining up before 7am to make sure they can obtain food for their families.  Catholic Charities has over 4,000 families registered for food assistance but only enough food to serve 1,000 families in need each month.

Volunteer efforts and food drives can only do so much to address the overwhelming need.  They cannot come close to replacing the need for government resources and assistance for families struggling to put food on the table.

Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Offer Doubles Your Feeding Our Neighbors Donations

Monday, January 27th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Check the thermometer daily to see how your contribution helps feed our neighbors

The numbers are frightening:  One out of five New York families struggle to feed their children.

Join us in fighting back.  Join now and join fast.

Right now, thanks to time-sensitive matching contribution offers, we can make your donation to fight hunger go farther with our 2014 Feeding Our Neighbors campaign.

An anonymous donor just added a $6,000 dollar-for-dollar matching offer to the New York States Council Knights of Columbus Charities $1,000 dollar-for-dollar match.  That means that this week, with your help, we will have at least $12,000 towards our goal of funding one million meals for hungry New Yorkers.

But you must act quickly.  The Feeding Our Neighbors campaign that kicked off on January 26 ends this Sunday, February 2.

Feeding Our Neighbors is a united effort to fight hunger. Initially launched by Timothy Cardinal Dolan in 2011 and run for the past two years in partnership with UJA-Federation, it responds to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s call that we all do our part to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens in our community that so many rely on to survive.

Click here to donate - and write “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.

Reading this on your smart phone?  Text CCHOPE to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.   (Standard text rates apply.)

Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

To confront the crisis of growing hunger in New York, we kick off today, Sunday, January 26, Feeding Our Neighbors.  This united campaign to fight hunger responds  to Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s call that we all do our part to replenish the food pantries and soup kitchens that so many families in our community rely on to survive.

To further this effort, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan just met with one of our state’s top elected officials, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to share the Catholic Charities perspective on hunger and food insufficiency.  The Senator convened a very small policy roundtable this Sunday with leaders of food provider organizations and key advocates to discuss the impact of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cuts in New York.

More and more New Yorkers have been reaching out to soup kitchens to feed their families,  reports CBS News in this just-released report*:

  • New research released this week by the Food Bank for New York City reveals that most of the city’s food pantries have seen a sharp increase in visitors.
  • The trend follows a $5 billion national cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that went into effect Nov. 1.
  • The cuts affect nearly 2 millionNew York City residents who receive benefits from the program.

 

Feeding Our Neighbors, sponsored by organizations throughout the Archdiocese of New York and managed by Catholic Charities, will use 100% of contributions to the campaign to support local food pantries that serve New Yorkers, non-Catholic and Catholic alike.

Please join us in Feeding Our Neighbors.

The time is now, January 26th - Sunday, February 2nd  2014.

Take one small action to help feed the hungry.

Together, we can change lives.
Support a Fundraising Drive.

Donate through Catholic Charities and type “Feeding Our Neighbors” in the comments field.

Text “CCHOPE” to 85944 to make a quick $10 donation.


Feed the Big White Box.

Bring non-perishable foods to a “Feeding Our Neighbors” food drive at any Catholic parish in the New York Archdiocese, the Catholic Charities headquarters at1011 First Avenue, or anyArchdio cesan Catholic School.

 

*Check out the report on CBS news.

President Obama and Pope Francis to Meet; Discuss Shared Commitment to Fight Poverty

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Photos courtesy of Fabi/AFP/GettyImages and AP Photo

President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis for the first time on March 27 at the Vatican to discuss the Pope’s commitment – made manifest through Catholic Charities – to serve the basic needs of the poor, troubled, frail and oppressed of all religions.

“The President looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality,” said a White House news release distributed by CNN and other media outlets. Across the developed world, inequality has increased,” Obama said.

‘How can it be,’ Pope Francis wrote, ‘that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points.’

Read the full story from CNN.

 

Mayor de Blasio meets with Cardinal Dolan; Discusses Catholic Charities and work done on behalf of those in need

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Mayor Bill de Blasio met yesterday for the first time since the mayor took office to discuss how they might collaborate to foster the common good – particularly helping New Yorkers most in need.

They hope to convince Pope Francis – who the mayor called “the most powerful voice on earth on how to address inequality” — to visit the city to lend his voice to the urgent task of building a more compassionate and just New York.

“We talked a lot about Catholic Charities and the work it does on behalf of children, on behalf of people in need,” Mayor de Blasio said.

“We talked about the need to help prisoners returning to society, a whole host of areas (including affordable housing) where we have common ground and where we can work together.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, who attended the post- meeting press briefing and is serving on the mayor’s transition team, said  “I am not surprised, but still delighted, that the Mayor recognizes the tremendous good being done by our federation of Catholic Charities agencies in touching and responding to almost every human need… We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration and are already convening agencies experienced in these areas to discuss how we might best work with the new administration to expand these services and meet unmet needs.” Read Msgr. Sullivan’s full statement here.

Cardinal Dolan regularly visits Catholic Charities agencies and meets both those being served and the dedicated staff and volunteers.  Cardinal Dolan was upbeat and expressed his strong desire to work with Mayor de Blasio for the sake of the good of New York, and especially those most in need.