Posts Tagged ‘homeless shelters’

Keeping Faith, Even When Home Is an Uncertain Place

Monday, December 9th, 2013

By John Otis

When asked to tell the story of his life and of the circumstances that left him homeless, Eugene Manu, 21, tripped over his words, his testimony stalled by moments of nervousness and trepidation, filled with false starts and constant backpedaling.

It is no wonder his thoughts could not find purchase. Mr. Manu’s meandering speech seems to reflect the fact that he’s never known any sense of stability or permanence. He is a young man who, despite a strong faith in God, and the guidance offered by certain family members, finds himself better acquainted with doubt and feelings of abandonment.

“I have never considered any place home,” he said.

Three months into Mr. Manu’s life, his mother, unmarried and barely scraping by at a minimum wage job, sent him to Ghana to live with his grandmother. He remained there for seven years before coming to the United States to join his mother in New York, where he would end up shuffled between an array of homeless shelters and foster homes, before he was returned to his grandmother’s care in Ghana at age 15.

Last spring, while living at Create, a Harlem shelter affiliated with Catholic Charities, he acquired his G.E.D. and was accepted at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. But at about the same time, he was hospitalized with pneumonia, caused by complications from the hereditary sickle cell anemia he was born with, and nearly died. “I felt like I was drifting away,” he said. “If it wasn’t for God, I would have lost my life.”

Read Mr. Manu’s story in The New York Times. Learn how Catholic Charities is helping him rebuild his life.

Fidelis Care Provides Grant to Help Serve Needy New Yorkers

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

From Left to Right: George Rodriguez, Fidelis Care NY Director of Marketing; Mark Sclafani, Vice President, Marketing; Pamela Hassan, Chief Marketing Officer; Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities Executive Director; Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Executive Director CCCS

By Alice Kenny

Fidelis Care, a partner with Catholic Charities Community Services (CCCS) for nearly a decade, donated $509,000 to Catholic Charities on May 3, 2013 to further the two agencies’ aligned mission to serve the poor and needy of New York.

This partnership has proved particularly important in light of the punishing impact the lasting effects the economic recession and deep cuts in social service programs have had on families in need.

  • One in every six New Yorkers – 1.4 million of our neighbors – now relies on daily emergency food.
  • More than half are employed yet still cannot manage to make ends meet with their earnings.  Close to 9,700 families with 15,000 children sleep in homeless shelters.

These numbers indicate what Catholic Charities already knows.  Poverty is not merely the lack of adequate financial resources.  Instead, it entails a profound deprivation, a denial of full participation in the economic, social and political life of society and an inability to influence decisions that affect one’s own life.  It means being powerless in a way that assaults not only one’s pocketbook but also one’s fundamental human dignity.

Fidelis Care is the New York State Catholic Health Plan, providing health coverage to children and adults in 58 counties statewide. The mission of Fidelis Care is to ensure that every resident, regardless of income, age, religion, gender, or ethnic background, has access to quality health care and is provided with dignity and respect. Through partnerships with providers, schools, and community agencies like Catholic Charities New York, Fidelis Care works to foster healthier futures for members and their families.

Now as more and more individuals and families seek help, the Fidelis Care grant assists Catholic Charities Community Services as we continue to respond as we always have, with professional case management services across the ten counties of the Archdiocese of New York that alleviate crises and set families and individuals on a path toward stability.

Our (Invisibly) Homeless Neighbors

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

By Marianna Reilly

Photo from the New York Times

February 7, 2012 — Think you know who the homeless are? You might be surprised by the New York Times special feature on the “invisible homeless.” They don’t live on the streets, or in doorways – they are families enduring a day-to-day reality that often includes hours-long subway commutes, day care, food pantries and shelters.

In our community, there are a staggering 40,000 homeless children and adults currently living in shelters. This is an all-time high for New York, and—picture this—enough to fill the stands in Citi Field.

You probably see these individuals every day without even knowing they are homeless. They turn to shelters because of unemployment, loss of income, eviction or domestic violence. Some work multiple jobs and long hours but still remain entrenched below the poverty line.

The Times describes these families, which make up three quarters of New York’s homeless shelter population, as “cloaked in a deceptive, superficial normalcy”:

“They do not sleep outside or on cots on armory floors. By and large, their shoes are good; some have smartphones. Many get up each morning and leave the shelter to go to work or to school. Their hardships — poverty, unemployment, a marathon commute — exist out of sight.”

 In the past few years, local charities have seen the need for eviction prevention assistance and other housing related services increase dramatically. In the 2011 year, Catholic Charities prevented eviction for more than 4,800 families, and helped an additional 17,000 families find emergency shelter, transitional housing or permanent affordable housing.

Learn more about Catholic Charities services for those in danger of homelessness, and contact us for help.