Posts Tagged ‘legal services’

Msgr. Sullivan Testifies Before State Assembly About Migrant Youth

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

photoResponding to the sudden influx of youth fleeing Central America and now residing in New York State, Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan testified today, September 16, 2014, at a public hearing in downtown Manhattan to determine what the State should be doing to better serve them and New York State residents.

Michele Titus, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Social Services, requested testimony from Msgr. Sullivan and fellow leaders that provide residential, health care, and legal services for these youth.

Nearly one out of 10  migrant youth fleeing Central America due to the violence and extreme poverty –  approximately 8,000 of the 90,000 youth arriving this year alone — are expected to be detained and face lengthy deportation proceedings in New York State, second only to Texas. Many come in search of parents or other relatives residing here.  While immigration and deportation proceedings are federal issues, many youth must go before family courts and some become charges of the State.

Catholic Charities is one of the largest providers of services to unaccompanied children in the United States, with the capacity to marshal a significant response that helps the maximum number of children in the broadest geographic zone.

Yet, despite Catholic Charities’ nearly 100-year history of helping immigrants and refugees, “our collective witness of children fleeing their home country to find refuge and reunification in the United States is a first-of-its kind in our nation’s history,” Msgr. Sullivan told the Assembly.

Below are more excerpts from Msgr. Sullivan’s testimony:

The unaccompanied minors, and their families, are among the most vulnerable and needy migrants and refugees that we have ever encountered… For this very reason, it calls for special care and attention, for a set of new legal and human services responses…

This year, Catholic Charities will assist over 4,000 children in sixteen shelters, covering about 1,200 beds in the Lower Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island. This is where 95% of children in federal custody in New York State are sheltered.

But in addition to breadth, Catholic Charities also is the only New York agency that can provide a comprehensive range of services to unaccompanied children on a large scale. This includes know-your-rights presentations, consultations, and legal representation to kids in detention, legal representation at the “surge” juvenile dockets, in-person and telephonic orientations to parents and custodians in communities throughout the New York region, post-release case management follow-up, coordinated medical-legal clinical support, and English instruction and cultural orientation.

Stated summarily, we call for:
 

  • Support for deportation defense legal resources for children who live outside New York City (to the extent private and public funders may cover children residing in New York City).
  • Support for expanded legal orientation community-based programs for children and parents/custodians who may not meet the “Unaccompanied Alien Child” definition (children who entered with a parent).
  • Developing and supporting legal-medical partnerships and clinics
  • Comprehensive case management and transitional support follow-up for children and with their parents at home (and their families) for five years
  • Expansion of Refugee Social Services Program and Targeted Assistance Grant programs to allow for enrollment of children under 16 years old and children over 16 who are in school (both groups are presently not covered).
  • Statewide coordination of school registration/enrollment protocols by the Department of Education (ensuring state-wide compliance with documentation protocols).

13% Spike in Number of Homeless New Yorkers

Monday, November 25th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

The homeless population increased by 13% in New York City at the beginning of this year, reports this recent article in The New York Times.

The shelter population reached levels not seen since the Depression era; a record 64,060 homeless people were counted on the street and in shelters this past winter according to an annual survey by HUD.

Nearly a quarter of all homeless people – 23% – are under 18.

A rise in families who could no longer pay their rent — a problem that is more acute in areas where affordable housing is scarce and rents are especially high – has driven the increase, according to federal officials. The group of very poor renters who pay more than half their income in rent and are struggling to hold onto their homes has grown by 43% nationwide since 2007, housing officials added.

If you are facing homelessness and need help, please call us at Catholic Charities. We support a vast network of emergency shelters, temporary and transitional housing and permanent affordable housing to help homeless families and individuals.

Eviction Prevention

Families and individuals who, for whatever reason, are facing the loss of a home or apartment are assisted by highly trained Catholic Charities caseworkers to prevent eviction and homelessness. Staff will assess the situation and create a comprehensive plan to respond to the immediate emergency and help avoid future crisis. Caseworkers will work with landlords, legal services, and financial management programs to help access rent subsidies and other government programs to assist families and individuals relocate to a new home.

Emergency Shelters

Parishes and other community organizations provide temporary shelter and respite for people living on the street. Operated mainly by volunteers, Catholic Charities provides assistance to these shelters and can help those in need access their services.

Temporary and Transitional Residences

Transitional, supported housing is an important component to the network of housing resources provided by Catholic Charities. Dedicated religious women have often taken the lead in developing and operating these housing programs. Some residences are specifically designed to serve the needs of women and their children, while others are available to the general population. Most offer a variety of services to assist the homeless in moving towards permanent housing and independence.

Permanent Affordable Housing

Affordable housing developed by Catholic Charities and other parish’s decades ago remain a precious, yet precarious resource. Catholic Charities has worked to make the Association of Catholic Homes an important vehicle not only for preserving existing housing but also for developing new affordable housing in the Archdiocese. All of these housing units have specific eligibility criteria, and many have significant waiting lists.
Catholic Charities Is Here to Help.

  • Click here for assistance finding the services you need
  • Call the Catholic Charities Help Line at 888-744-7900.

Tired of Red Tape?

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Faced with an eviction notice, the declining health of an aging parent, recovery from a flood, or other tough problems?  It’s easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed trying to navigate the very systems that are supposed to help.

Catholic Charities provides compassionate, coordinated help from high-quality, knowledgeable professionals.

Catholic Charities’ assistance can take many forms:

  •  a recent immigrant can be provided with legal services in order to obtain work authorization
  • an unemployed new mother can be enrolled in resume writing and interview skills workshops
  • a father seeking to reunite with his children in foster care can take parenting skills classes

And that’s just for starters.

We assist individuals and families deal with multiple, overlapping problems and negotiate bureaucratic red tape. Sometimes, this can mean the difference between getting the help needed and simply giving up.

To find a Catholic Charities agency that offers coordinating services click here.

If you need help in finding the services you need please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-744-7900.

Do you have immigration questions? We have answers.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Get answers—in your language—by calling Catholic Charities at the New York State New Americans Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (toll-free in NYS).

Catholic Charities operates the New York State New Americans Hotline, a statewide information and referral hotline that gives general information and referrals to appropriate service agencies in response to immigration and citizenship-related questions.

Hotline operators speak English, Spanish, French, Romanian, Polish, Albanian, Japanese, and Arabic. The New Americans Hotline provides an expanded menu of language options, previously not available, via a language service line, as well.

The NYS New Americans Hotline does not provide legal advice. Questions on individual eligibility are referred to legal services agencies for immigration consultations.