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New York’s Safety Net for 100 Years

Every organization reaches milestones. In 2015, Catholic Charities Community Services celebrated its 35th year of service to our 12 County catchment area, serving annually, over 3,000 people who live with special needs and significant health challenges. In 2017 we are excited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Catholic Charities across New York State. But looking at the fiscal implications of the 2018 proposed federal budget raises concerns about continuing this legacy of services.

The first draft of the federal budget proposal released on May 24, includes a $610 billion cut to Medicaid and a $190 billion cut to food stamps and school lunch programs over the next ten years. Entire block grant programs that are critical to ensuring stable housing for our HIV clients and other vulnerable populations are eliminated in this budget version. An estimated 25,000 people in New York State alone will lose housing assistance that protects them from eviction. There is no question that this budget proposal is threatening to the people served by Catholic Charities across the state and nation.

Throughout the country, Catholic Charities brings hope to individuals, families and communities. Here in New York, Catholic Charities was launched 100 years ago when Rochester Bishop Thomas Hickey and Cardinal Patrick Hayes of the Archdiocese of New York petitioned the NYS legislature to create Catholic Charities. Today Charities serves more than 1 million unduplicated clients each year. Our mission, rooted in the Bible is to go wherever we are needed, provide whatever is needed and serve whomever is in need.

Catholic Charites feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, provides counseling for those with addictions and mental health challenges, and offers basic needs like food, clothing, transportation, financial and utilities assistance. Catholic Charites agencies provide refugee resettlement and immigration services, supervised and supportive housing for the developmentally disabled and vulnerable populations, and employment services.

Just as it was one hundred years ago, the need for services is great and changing with time. Therefore we are called to advocate today for those who are unable to do so in order to ensure tomorrow’s 100 years of compassionate services that build communities and promote the common good.

Visit http://www.nyscatholic.org/charities/ for an overview of Catholic Charities 100 years, produced by Chairperson of CCCS, Tim Mason.

Lori VanAuken
Executive Director