Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

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.

When the First Hurdle Is Remembering

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Her memory ravaged by damage done to her brain, Nikkiya Simmonds, 32, returned to an apartment that might as well have belonged to a stranger. It was a cozy dwelling, strewn with cute knickknacks and calming artwork that she was tickled to learn that she had chosen, that she was, indeed, home.

But learning the identity of the adorable, yet utterly unfamiliar infant who greeted her was haunting. The child was Ms. Simmonds’s 2-year-old daughter, Nikalia Harrison.

“I remembered being pregnant, but I didn’t remember her,” she said. “I felt real guilty.”

In March, Ms. Simmonds, with no prior history of epilepsy or convulsive episodes, was stricken by a grand mal seizure. The injury to the frontal lobe of her brain was so severe that her mind was purged of every memory of the previous two years, including the entirety of her daughter’s life.

After two months of hospitalization, Ms. Simmonds returned to a new life and a new reality; an eviction notice slipped under her door.

Thanksgiving Approaches but NYC Children Do Not Have Enough to Eat

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Catholic Charities Turkey & Trimmings Food Distribution

The New York Times reports  that one-fifth of New York City children and one-sixth of the city’s residents live in homes without enough to eat.

These rates of “food insecurity” have not improved over the past three years, despite the steady recovery of the city’s economy, said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger that compiled the report.

“There is a great disconnect between the broader economic indicators and the fact that there is absolutely no recovery in any meaningful way for low-income New Yorkers,” Mr. Berg said in an interview. “At no time since the Gilded Age has there been a greater disconnect.”

The most dire change has been in the Bronx, where more than one-third of residents (36 percent) and nearly half of the children (49 percent) could not consistently obtain balanced meals from 2010 through 2012. Those three-year averages were up from about 29 percent and 37 percent during the three-year period that led up to the financial crisis — 2006 through 2008 — the study states, based on data from the United States Census Bureau.

But even in Brooklyn and Manhattan, two boroughs where real estate prices have risen to record highs, the number of people without enough money to feed their families is on the rise, the report shows. That trend was evident from the line snaking down Fulton Street last week outside the pantry Dr. Samuels runs.

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Contact Catholic Charities if you are hungry and need help.

Join Us in Our Feeding Our Neighbors campaign, an archdiocesan drive to replenish food pantries supporting non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

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.

Sight Lost, Sight Restored

Monday, November 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny
All of us, not just the unlucky or disadvantaged, rely on the fragile human apparatus of sight for survival. Any change, great or small, can reconfigure a life.

Jasmine Carrero, along with sons Timothy, 11, and Travis, 9, have Stickler syndrome, a genetic abnormality that is stealing their sight.  They are awaiting tests to find out whether baby sister Lillian, now 5 months, must cope with this syndrome as well.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Gibbs-Pratt, 47, who works as a food stamp eligibility specialist, had 20/20 vision for most of her life.  Suddenly progressive macular degeneration began robbing her of her sight.  Her husband left her.  Now alone, she fears using a cane because it would announce to those roaming the dangerous streets where she lives that she is defenseless.

Fortunately, Catholic Charities came to their aid.

Read their profiles published on Sunday in The New York Times.:

NY Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan & Catholic Univ. Professor Maryann Cusimano Love Take On Issues of Poverty, Privacy and the Digital Age.

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Two brave women — Margaret Sullivan, who works as Public Editor from inside The New York Times and Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, who, as Catholic University Associate professor of International Relations takes on  issues like morality, technology and NSA surveillance — confront head on these dicey topics and more with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on this week’s JustLove radio show.

Their skill at combining clear thinking with straight talk puts listeners in the sometimes uncomfortable position of thinking twice about topics that, until now, they may have avoided thinking about at all.

“We tend to think of the poor as something over there in a silo,” says Ms. Sullivan, a Jesuit-educated graduate of Georgetown University.  “But it’s really not a discreet population that we can draw a discreet circle around and say ‘you are the other.’  The other is us.”

The issue of poverty, the public and how to accurately present news challenges media outlets as they draw on rapidly evolving online opportunities.

And it challenges the government as laws that protect our privacy struggle to keep up with the digital age.

This struggle sparked particular outrage when the public recently found out about the NSA’s electronic surveillance program that has peaked into millions of U.S. citizens’ phone and internet accounts as part of its war on terror.

“What’s lost in this debate is that the government is asking private industry for this information,” Dr. Cusimano Love says.  “People may not understand that this information is already being gathered by the private sector.  The main question is whether the government should peek at it.”

Listen as they take on these topics on JustLove  on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.   JustLove airs weekly on Saturday at 10am EST on The Catholic Channel 129.

Tell us what you think.

Click on the title of this story and leave a reply.

 

Struggling with Disability, Abandonment and Adoption, Young Adult Finds Success

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Otis Hampton who lives at Create, a shelter affiliated with Catholic Charities for homeless young men, along with a group of fellow young people with big hearts, big challenges and big dreams had an afternoon to remember.

As CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu reported, they got a real taste of Hollywood in Chelsea at the School of Visual Arts, complete with a red carpet before their movies were screened.

All the participants struggle with disability, abandonment and adoption. Otis, for example, was born with cerebral palsy that makes it difficult for him to walk.  His sister, who had a tracheotomy and was separated from him by adoption, also participated in the project.

They are channeling their challenges by creating mini movies about their lives.   Otis appeared in his sister’s movie and starred in his own movie as well.  The movies and the celebration were the result of a partnership between two groups: New Alternatives for Children and the Make a Film Foundation.

Growing up, Mr. Hampton was often teased by classmates and was stigmatized both for his disability and for the time he spent in the foster care.  He was adopted at age 8, but his adoptive father died after a stroke two years later. His profile was published last year as a New York Times Neediest Case.

Otis’ life at Create freed him from worries about living on the street.  While there, he has worked towards a college degree, is mastering the steps he needs to live independently and following his passion in film making.

Read his profile in The New York Times.

Watch him on CBS 2 News.

Bringing Folks Opportunities They Never Knew Possible. Catholic Charities and The NYTimes Neediest Cases Campaign Transform Lives

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

In this end-of-season interview, The New York Times spotlights Stephanie Harrill, Social Worker at Catholic Charities Guild for the Blind, whose extraordinary work has helped transform lives.

“People hear the word charity and they think of a hand out,” she says. “Our services are a hand up.”

By combining the myriad of services Catholic Charities offers with  publicity The New York Times Neediest Cases campaign provides, Ms. Harrill helps blind, homeless, unemployed and often spiritually defeated men and women find work, housing and meaning in their lives.

“I think The New York Times Neediest Cases campaign is fantastic,” Ms Harrill adds.  “For particular clients it can bring opportunities to them that they never knew possible.”

Click here  to listen to her three-part online audio interview with The New York Times

Despite Hard Times, Veteran Still Lives Independently

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Nearly seven decades later, Charles Daubek Jr., 94, still remembers the “wonderful feeling” of first seeing the house – their first – that his parents saved, scrimped and borrowed to buy while he served as a private first class during World War II.

An only child and never married, Mr. Daubek has lived in that home in Hastings on Hudson since returning from the war in 1946.  The fraying roof and rusting mailbox tell one story:  at his age, he has neither the money nor the physical stamina to make repairs.  But within the walls live a lifetime of memories – his memories – of special times with friends and with his parents, all of whom were buried years ago.

“It’s a terrible thing when you got to skimp and you don’t know if you can make it or not,” he said.

Read his profile in The New York Times.  Learn about critical support he receives from Catholic Charities and its affiliate, Dominican Sisters Family Health Service, to help him to continue living independently.

Pressing on for the Children

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

By Alice  Kenny

For more than a decade, Marjorie Suarez worked as a sergeant at New York University Department of Public Safety.  She supervised a staff of 80 officers and earned enough to provide a comfortable life for herself and her young son, Eugene.

But a freak accident that began with a fall and sprained ankle morphed into a chronic condition, complex regional pain syndrome, CRPS, left her wheelchair bound, unemployed and in constant pain.

The New York Times profiled her and the help she received during last year’s Neediest Cases campaign.  This year, it caught back up with her in this online video along with two other women helped by the campaign.

“This entire situation made me humble and opened my heart,” Ms. Suarez said.  “I see now that even a small gesture like saying “good morning” to someone – “how are you doing; how can I help you” — can change a day and turn a life around.”