2015 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey
Monday, 02 May 2016 00:00

NEWS RELEASE                144 West Wood Street,
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                                                                     Rev. Monsignor John A. Zuraw, Chancellor

FOR RELEASE Immediate DATE SENT May 2, 2016
SUBJECT         2015 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey

MORE INFO     Catholic Charities  330.744.8451 x328

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown recently completed the 2015 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey, which gathers information on programs, services, collaborative efforts, social action initiatives, parish relationships, finances, personnel, volunteers, and the implementation of mission-related activities from Catholic Charities organizations across the United States.  Five institutions in the Diocese of Youngstown participated in the Catholic Charities USA survey:  the Catholic Charities administrative offices located in the diocesan chancery, including Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services; Catholic Charities Housing Opportunities; Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County; Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties; and Catholic Charities Regional Agency (serving Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties).

With its ten locations and twenty programs, Catholic Charities served a total of 33,645 people in 2015.  Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Catholic Charities’ clients reported incomes below the federal poverty line, which was $24,250 for a family of four last year.  Eighty-three percent (83%) of clients served qualified for some type of public assistance, including TANF, SSI, SNAP (food stamps), and Medicaid benefits.

Catholic Charities agencies in the Diocese of Youngstown provided over $840,000 in direct assistance to clients in 2015, plus an additional $1.8 million in pass-through funds to clients from grants and contracts with government entities, as well as other direct assistance monies from both diocesan and local sources.

Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Catholic Charities’ 2015 total budget was devoted to programs that meet basic needs, strengthen families, build communities, and empower low-income people.  Eleven percent (11%) of Catholic Charities’ budget was used for administration and fund raising.

Emergency assistance with food, utilities, prescriptions, clothing, rent and other needs remains the top priority for the use of Catholic Charities’ funds.  In 2015, Catholic Charities served 12,958 unduplicated households in its emergency assistance programs.  Help with food remains the greatest emergency need for the third consecutive year.  The number of people benefitting from Catholic Charities’ food vouchers and onsite food pantries in 2015 was 13,673, a figure that remains consistent with the previous year.  Over 12,000 bags/boxes of food were provided to client households. 

Services to stabilize housing are also a key priority for Catholic Charities.  In 2015, over 2,000 people benefitted from rental assistance, housing counseling, foreclosure counseling, housing search and information, and case management.  Through grant funding, Catholic Charities provided 1,852 rental assistance payments totaling $472,140 to help client families stay in their homes.  Additionally, Catholic Charities Housing Opportunities rented four homes in the City of Youngstown to low-income families with children.  The organization also offered down-payment assistance to 12 first-time home buyers in 2015 through a grant from the State of Ohio’s Office of Community Development.

“Catholic Charities continues to focus its efforts on meeting the most basic needs—such as food and housing—and our agencies’ efforts in these areas are both necessary and commendable,” states Mary Ellen (Meg) Andersen, President and CEO of the Diocese of Youngstown Catholic Charities Corporation, the organization responsible for providing administrative oversight for the Catholic Charities agencies across the Diocese of Youngstown.

“However, Catholic Charities is also involved with transitioning people from poverty to self-sufficiency.  We are challenged to do two things:  meet the immediate, ‘right now’ needs and help clients look ahead to avoid getting in a crisis situation in the future.  Once we satisfy basic needs and establish a trusting relationship with our clients, then we can begin working with them on longer-term solutions to breaking the cycle of poverty that traps them,” Andersen explains.

An effective means of helping clients find the path to self-sufficiency is through financial literacy services.  Determining a client’s income and expenses and writing those figures down on a piece of paper can be an eye-opening experience for many people who have never realized just how much they are spending month-to-month.  Working with these clients in an understanding, nonjudgmental way, case workers empower their clients to make decisions about items on their budgets that are more “wants” than actual “needs.”  In 2015, Catholic Charities provided 423 people with financial literacy services.

In the fall of 2015, Catholic Charities launched Project Assisi, a new pilot project to provide support and resources to a targeted group of clients with the potential to successfully transition out of a serious, but temporary, financial setback or out of poverty altogether.  Although Catholic Charities remains committed to meeting basic emergency needs, the organization is also committed to helping those clients who have the motivation and means to get out of poverty through efforts like Project Assisi, which will continue as a pilot through 2016.

In other programming areas, Catholic Charities served 2,314 households through its First Step Pregnancy and Family Support Program last year.  Operating in all six counties of the diocese, First Step provides case management and material assistance—food, formula, diapers and other baby essentials—to pregnant women and families with children ages 0-3. 

Over 1,600 adults ages 65 and older participated in specific programming to meet their needs, including adult day services in Stark County (Louisville); senior center and hot meal program in Columbiana County (East Liverpool); volunteer guardianship program in Ashtabula County; and senior support in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.

Other significant Catholic Charities agency programs in the Diocese of Youngstown include the following:

  • Christina House, the domestic violence shelter in Columbiana County operated by Catholic Charities Regional Agency, which housed 75 women and children in 2015.  Supportive services, including legal advocacy, assistance with obtaining protection orders, and information and referral services, were provided to 1,000 people.  Additionally, staff from Christina House fielded 379 crisis telephone calls and provided presentations and trainings to 768 people in the community.
  • School-based services, offered by Catholic Charities Regional Agency and Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County, reached 4,600 students through anti-bullying and abstinence education programming, respectively.
  • Representative payee services offered by Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County provided 942 people with representative payee services, an effort that manages benefits for individuals who are incapable of managing their own finances and have no available family member or trusted friend to do so.
  • Opening Doors, offered by Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County, is an evidence-based, comprehensive training program teaching parenting, leadership, and advocacy for low-income parents of children from birth to five years of age.  The goal of Opening Doors is to help parents understand the important role they play in their child’s development and to help children become better-prepared for Kindergarten.  Opening Doors served 86 households in 2015.
  • Caritas Café, a program of Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties located in the agency’s Ravenna office, provides free, light refreshments in a casual, informal atmosphere to all people, with a focus on low income and homeless individuals, many of whom have mental health, substance abuse and rehabilitation issues. Opportunities for conversation, socialization, and referrals to other agency and community services are available every weekday morning.  Over 10,000 visits were made to the Café in 2015.
  • Permanent, affordable apartment units sponsored by Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties provided housing to 29 people in 2015.  The apartment units are located on the third and fourth floors of the agency’s downtown Ravenna location.

Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services, accredited by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) since 2006, provides family-based immigration assistance to those who wish to obtain legal status in the United States, either for themselves or for their relatives.  In 2015, Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services helped 152 people with citizenship applications, family visa petitions, removal proceedings, and legal representation for other matters. 

All of Catholic Charities’ services in the Diocese of Youngstown were delivered by a staff of 57 full-time and 23 part-time employees, an overall decrease of five full-time staff members from 2014.  One hundred twenty-three (123) volunteers contributed 12,900 hours of service to Catholic Charities last year, and an additional 35 people served on agency boards of directors. 

Developing and fostering close relationships with diocesan parishes is important to Catholic Charities.  In 2015, Catholic Charities worked to build parish engagement by coordinating volunteer opportunities for parishioners or parish groups; coordinating a referral line specifically for parish use, providing social services at parish sites, and collaborating with parishes on fund raising projects.  The most significant diocesan fundraising endeavor is the Annual Bishop’s Appeal for Catholic Charities and Church.  This yearly campaign, conducted in all diocesan parishes, provides a critical source of funding for the work of Catholic Charities. 

For more information concerning the 2015 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey, contact Rachel Hrbolich, Associate Director of Social Services for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Youngstown, at 330-744-8451, ext. 328 ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or visit Catholic Charities’ website at www.ccdoy.org.