Lack of knowledge of service availability continues to be a barrier
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), among the nation's largest networks of human services organizations, released the findings of its 2011 4th Quarter Snapshot Survey today which found that local Catholic Charities agencies save Americans in need an estimated $7.4 million per year by providing free tax preparation assistance. However, a lack of knowledge of financial asset development services such as financial literacy classes and tax preparation assistance continues to be a barrier in communities throughout the country.
The 44 agencies that participated in this survey serve approximately 3.5 million clients, according to CCUSA's 2010 Annual Survey. Of these agencies forty-three percent offer tax preparation assistance but less than 1 percent of their total clients take advantage of these services. In addition, while more than fifty-five percent of agencies responded as offering financial literacy support, less than 1 percent of their total clients took advantage of these services.
"These findings underscore the need for a holistic approach to providing programs and services to those in need," said Rev. Larry Snyder, President and CEO of CCUSA. "Recognizing the individualized nature of poverty, we must break down the silos that lead to segmented service delivery by enabling a single point of access to services. We must create a system that ensures focused, yet comprehensive, support at the earliest and most cost-effective moments of need."
Additional key findings include:
The majority of agencies reported an increase in requests for help from the following populations: working poor (85%), families (81%), children (68%) and seniors (61%).
All (100%) respondents reported maintaining a waiting list or turning individuals away for services this quarter.
The greatest areas of unmet need continue to be in emergency financial assistance and utilities assistance, where 64 percent and 52 percent of agencies report wait listing or turning away clients, respectively.
Even the most basic needs are going unmet in some communities. Three agencies reported turning away at least 1,750 individuals that came to them seeking food.
The online survey was distributed to CCUSA membership during January 2012 to measure programs and services provided between October 1 and December 31, 2011. Responses were received from 44 Catholic Charities agencies in 29 different states who served approximately 3,542,750 clients in 2010. Catholic Charities USA and its network of local agencies served more than 10 million individuals in 2010.