Archive for the ‘Feeding the Hungry and Sheltering the Homeless’ Category

Catholic Charities Marches with Puerto Rican Day Parade

Monday, June 9th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Cheered by NYC Hispanic Society Sanitation Department members seated atop a sanitation truck, serenaded by DJs blasting salsa music and wedged between Goya and Coca-Cola floats, Catholic Charities joined the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 8, 2014 to celebrate Puerto Rican pride, drum up support to feed our hungry neighbors and promote the vast array of services we provide those in need.

As hundreds of thousands of marchers and onlookers packed Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, Catholic Charities staff distributed prayer cards, fans and memorabilia complete with Catholic Charities phone numbers to draw attention to the growing hunger crisis and let New Yorkers know how to contact us for help.

Like the Puerto Rican community, Catholic Charities is part of the fabric of New York City.  For more than 100 years, Catholic Charities has helped solve the problems of New Yorkers in need, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.  The neglected child, the homeless family and the hungry senior among those who rely on us for help.

But with poverty up and food stamps (now called S.N.A.P.) down due to recent federal cuts, lines are growing at Catholic Charities food pantries across the archdiocese.   Hunger has exploded throughout New York; one out of nearly every two children in the largely Hispanic community of East Harlem lives in poverty.

Our Feeding Our Neighbors Campaign is fighting back with a goal of raising enough funds to provide one million meals for the hungry.  The Goya Corporation made a significant dent in this goal, splitting a donation of 5,000 pounds of rice, beans and specialty foods between Catholic Charities St. Cecilia’s food pantry in East Harlem and a food pantry run by Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

Find your friends in our Puerto Rican Day Parade slide show.

Join us in feeding our neighbors.

Do you need help?

Call

  • Our Catholic Charities Help Line at 888-744-7900
  • Our New York State (NYS) New Americans Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS)

Find out more here.

Hungry New Yorkers Get 5,000 Pounds of Food

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

By Alice Kenny
Marta6.3Yesterday was the moment Martinez Benitez had been praying for.  For nearly two decades, this 94-year-old woman has volunteered at Catholic Charities’ St. Cecelia’s food pantry in Central Harlem.  She has watched as lines crowded with hungry children, mothers, and grandfathers with walkers stretched longer each year.  And yesterday, Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, pulled up a truck filled with 5,000 pounds of food donations.

Catholic Charities and Goya staff along with volunteers such as tiny Ms. Benitez rolled up their sleeves on this 80-degree day and unloaded boxes packed with rice, beans and vegetables.  The donations were split between the food pantries at St. Cecelia’s and at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

Goya’s donation marked the kickoff for this weekend’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade and food drive.  The massive gift, enough to feed 4,000 families, will benefit Catholic Charities Feeding Our Neighbors campaign that supports a vast network of food pantries and emergency food programs.  Since the November cuts in the food stamp program (now called S.N.A.P.) hunger is more of a crises than ever in East Harlem where nearly one out of every two children – 37,250 residents in all – live in poverty.

“This will mean that hundreds of families will not go to bed hungry at night,” Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Sullivan said as he hugged Ms. Benitez, then unloaded another box of brown rice.

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.

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.

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.

Catholic Church Aids Mayor’s Plan to Build Affordable Housing

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

“Catholic Church will aid Mayor de Blasio’s plan to add affordable housing,” reports New York Daily News Bureau chief Jennifer Fermino today, May 7, 2014, in the Daily News.

“De Blasio has turned to the Catholic Church for help with his plan to build 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years. The church will work with the city to create new affordable housing units and to preserve cheap apartments that are in use.”

Check out her full Daily News report below:

BY JENNIFER FERMINO

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF

Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 11:34 PM

Mayor de Blasio is turning to a higher power for help with his ambitious affordable housing plan.

De Blasio is banking on the Catholic Church to help him reach his lofty target of 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

The church, mainly through its wing Catholic Charities, will work with the city to create new affordable housing units and to preserve cheap apartments that are already in use.
.
Catholic leaders have already offered up the former site of St. Augustine in the Bronx — a 162-year-old church that closed in 2012 and was demolished in December — and have meetings planned to redevelop as many as 10 other sites, said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities.

The site of St. Augustine’s alone could hold “somewhere” around 100 units of low-cost housing, he said.

Sullivan said housing is a basic human right, and helping people of all faiths find it is part of the church’s mission.

“Every person made in the image and likeness of God deserves a decent place to live,” he said.
In the past 40 years, the church has developed about 10,000 units of affordable housing in all five boroughs, he said.

It scouts suitable locations and then sets up non-profits to manage housing on the sites. Catholic Charities also repairs affordable housing units that have fallen into disrepair.

Read more online in the Daily News.

More than 6,000 units of affordable housing for financially strapped families, elderly persons and formerly homeless individuals have been developed in every borough of New York City thanks to the dedicated long-term commitment of parishes, clergy, religious communities, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Brooklyn and Queens and affiliated community-based organizations

“Let’s Get Started”: Catholic Charities and Archdiocese Stand Ready to Work With Mayor on Affordable Housing

Monday, May 5th, 2014

photoHis Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan applaud Mayor de Blasio’s just-announced $41 billion, five-borough, 10-year affordable housing plan to serve more than a half- million New Yorkers.

Called the most expansive and ambitious affordable housing agenda of its kind in the nation’s history, this plan to build or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments across all five boroughs was laid out today, May 5, 2014, by Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference at College Ave. in the Bronx. Mayor de Blasio pledged that the housing plan would reach New Yorkers ranging from those with very low incomes at the bottom of the economic ladder all the way to those in the middle class facing ever-rising rents in their neighborhoods.

“New York City’s current crisis of housing affordability threatens the basic human right to decent housing,” Cardinal Dolan said when he announced his support of the new housing plan.

“Since the 1960s, the Catholic Church in all boroughs of New York City, through parishes, religious communities, community-based organizations and Catholic Charities, has been at the heart of the development and preservation of affordable housing.

“I applaud the Mayor’s far-reaching 10-year plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units throughout our city, and the Church in all boroughs of New York City looks forward to continuing to work with NYC and Mayor de Blasio to help achieve this important affordable housing goal.”

The Catholic commitment to affordable housing in New York City is illustrated by over 50 years of experience constructing, preserving and rehabilitating housing for the poor, the low income working families, seniors and persons with special needs.

Through the dedicated long-term commitment of parishes, clergy, religious communities, Catholic Charities and affiliated community based organizations more than 6,000 units of affordable housing for financially strapped families, elderly persons and formerly homeless individuals have been developed in every borough of New York City.

To emphasize this support, Msgr. Sullivan spoke in person at the mayor’s press conference today.

“Housing is a basic human right,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “The dignity of the human person – made in the image of God – is threatened when an individual or family does not have adequate housing.”

Msgr. Sullivan provided examples of the Church’s past, present and future commitment to affordable housing. They include Highbridge where for the past three decades Msgr. Sakano and Jorge Battista have rebuilt a neighborhood with almost 2000 units of housing. They include over 4000 units of affordable housing for seniors, families, the formerly homeless and persons with AIDS/HIV built under the leadership of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens including Bishop DiMarzio, Robert Siebel and John Tynan. And they include 3000 units of housing built and preserved by religious communities such as the Ursalines and Dominicans and the Sisters of Charity, Church-related community organizations and leadership of Msgr. Jenik, particularly in West Farms and Bedford Park.

“Less than a mile to the east on the Franklin Avenue Hill there is property that has been St. Augustine parish’s sacred worship space spanning three centuries,” Msgr. Sullivan added. “That worship community, though still vibrant, has become smaller and now worships in a neighboring parish church.

“That Church building was razed to prepare the site for affordable housing. It stands ready to be part of this initiative. This site will remain a sacred space because on it individuals and families will have a decent place to live, fulfill their potential and raise their families. Here human dignity will be honored and this space held sacred (by creating affordable housing for non-Catholics and Catholics alike.)

“Mr. Mayor, thank you for this initiative. Let’s get started.”

Theology on Tap Goes Latin

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

TOT LogoBy Alice Kenny

Join fellow young adults for fun, camaraderie and a rousing discussion with a Latin flavor when we team up today, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, with Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia at Heights Tavern in happening Washington Heights.

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.

Tonight we’re teaming with Centro Altagracia and Catholic Charities’ “Feeding our Neighbors” campaign.

  • Feed your social life by joining us.
  • Feed your thirst with…well, you know…
  • And feed our neighbors by bringing canned goods to donate.

Get a 5% discount on your bar check by donating 10 lbs. of food or more!

Wonder what to bring?

Check out our list here and learn more.

That’s tonight, April 29, 2014, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Heights Tavern, 3910 Broadway, NYC.

RSVP at Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia

The Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia is dedicated to putting faith into action, promoting social justice, through dynamic collaborations and needs-based initiatives, in service to the communities of Washington Heights and Inwood.

 

Create Hope This Easter

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Easter shows us that pain and suffering is not the final word. There is triumph. There is hope.

We’re here to bring new life to New Yorkers in need that conquers pain, sadness and suffering.

Join us.

Provide help. Create hope.

Transform lives.