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2nd Quarter 'Snapshot Survey': The Personal Pain of Economic Disaster
Date:8/10/2009

Mental Health Counseling Needs Surge Without Resources to Cover

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities USA released its 2nd Quarter "Snapshot Survey" (http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/snapshot) today revealing a dramatic increase nationwide in requests for services and an alarming reduction in resources.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081008/CCUSALOGO)

Citing "the growing personal pain of economic disaster," Catholic Charities' agencies around the country report that State and Local budget cuts have had a huge impact on the ability of Catholic Charities agencies to respond to the poorest in their communities -- a situation that has only deepened since Catholic Charities 1st Quarter Snapshot Survey results.

"The facts continue to paint a very troubling picture," said Rev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA. "Our agencies report brutal budget cuts and painful staff lay-offs at a time when the most disenfranchised members of our society need us the most. Increasing numbers of our own volunteers and employees have been forced to become clients of our services. Life is being lived at a new level of stress and need."

Of the 40 Catholic Charities agencies responding to the Snapshot Survey, 50% indicated that States are diminishing contracts or worse yet not paying on existing contracts. One Catholic Charities agency reported that their State owes them more than $25 million for services it contracted for. This is not an isolated case, with 7 additional agencies reporting that States owe them between $1 million and $10 million.

Very telling of the times, numerous Catholic Charities agencies communicated that they simply could not complete the Snapshot Survey -- they had no time. They were using every possible minute and resource to meet the needs of an increasing number of poor requesting our services. Here's a sampling of how our agencies describe the reality of the world they are facing each day:

  • "We may not be able to continue to offer service to children."

  • "If it continues, we will have to curtail shelter."

  • "We need more money, not less, to help the poor."

  • "Budget cuts are devastating our drug and alcohol program."

  • "We have to lay-off staff."

"As difficult as it is, we remain more committed than ever," Fr. Snyder added. "Many organizations and services that may be forced to close their doors are turning to us for help and we stand ready to support as best we can. 'Now ... more than ever', is somewhat of a rallying cry under these circumstances, and as any hint of recovery begins we will fully stand with the poor as their voice."

Catholic Charities USA's members -- more than 1,700 local Catholic Charities agencies and institutions nationwide -- provide help and create hope for nearly 8 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrates its centennial anniversary. For more information, visit www.CatholicCharitiesUSA.org.


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SOURCE Catholic Charities USA
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