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Government Must Not Balance Budget on the Backs of the Poor
Date:6/15/2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Escalating funding issues challenge social service providers in today's economy. Catholic Charities agencies across the country indicate that decreasing funds impact both those they serve and those they employ. As state governments face new budget years a stark reality has emerged. Proposed and unprecedented cuts to programs that provide minimal, but essential, services to the country's poor and most vulnerable are leaving these people with no hope for safety net services. City, county and state governments are attempting to balance budgets on the backs of those who have the least. As our country strives to recover from this severe economic disaster it must include all Americans in recovery efforts. It is morally imperative that that the country pursue recovery programs and strategies that will not plunge the poor into ever more catastrophic circumstances from which they will find it almost impossible to recover.

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

Rev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA, stated, "I call on all government officials at every level to make prudent decisions that will minimize adverse effects on those who have the least in our society." In a public statement issued to elected officials Father Snyder went on to acknowledge that all Americans must share part of the burden of this economic crisis, but the poor and vulnerable must not bare a disproportionate share.

As Catholic Charities agencies in congressional districts across the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico experience unprecedented numbers of people coming to their doors for food, housing, health care and the hope of finding employment the agencies have depleted resources due, in large part, to the cutting of governmental contracts for community based services. As many agencies approach the end of their fiscal years on June 30, they realize they cannot serve more with dramatically reduced resources. They must close the very doors through which persons of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds and widely varying socio-economic backgrounds have come to find the hope and help that has prevented them from the pits of despair. Catholic Charities agencies are scaling back programs and laying off the ones who serve those most in need. In some cases the lay-offs will rise as high as 40% of paid workforce, catapulting more workers into the long lines who stand in need of help.

Our country must find solutions that prevent this potential massive collapse of the social safety net. Father Snyder went on to urge government to work with not-for-profit organizations, faith based groups, private foundations and corporate citizens to ensure that the country will meet the basic needs of all people. The Gospel calls for all to recognize the human dignity of each person. To walk away from the poor is to forsake the country's basic commitment to humanitarian respect. It is only by serving and including the least among us that America can stand tall in the demonstration of its essential democratic values.

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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