Local Catholic Charities Agencies Say Government Cuts will Have Dramatic Impact on Communities across the Country

Apr 19, 2013, 11:41 ET from Catholic Charities USA

Agencies Reported Data in Catholic Charities USA 4th Quarter Snapshot Survey

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities agencies report that eminent cuts to federal spending will force the already struggling agencies to serve even fewer clients, particularly those needing basic needs assistance and refugee services, according to Catholic Charities USA's (CCUSA) latest quarterly snapshot survey.

"The proposed cuts won't just impact the millions of people that come to our local agencies for help, but have the potential to negatively impact every community and neighborhood across the country by making it more difficult for neighbors and friends to make ends meet," said CCUSA President Rev. Larry Snyder. "CCUSA believes that innovative reform of our nation's safety net is long overdue, but until our system is fixed, cutting programs that support the most vulnerable among us is not the solution."

CCUSA's Fourth Quarter 2012 Snapshot Survey focused on the impending across-the-board cuts to federal non-defense discretionary spending, known as "sequestration." These findings will be used to inform policymakers about the essential nature of federally-funded social service programs during this ongoing debate.

Additional findings include:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents who provide refugee services said that their services in this area would be significantly impacted by a decrease in federal funding. For example, Catholic Charities Maine is the only refugee resettlement provider in their state, and reports that they are already facing funding cuts causing reductions in staffing and services.
  • The majority (56%) of agencies providing food services said that their ability to provide those services would be significantly impacted by sequestration cuts, despite the fact that several major food programs like SNAP are exempt from the cuts. Agencies stressed the impact that cuts to funding for other food programs including the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program would have on their ability to address hunger in their communities. Some agencies, such as Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana, are already looking for alternative sources of food donations.
  • The majority (53%) of agencies providing housing services also indicated that their ability to provide housing services would be significantly impacted by cuts to federal funding. Several agencies specifically mentioned that their homelessness prevention services would be significantly impacted, including Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, whose response stressed "Federal funding to provide rapid re-housing and emergency homeless prevention services is critical to addressing poverty in our community."

The online survey was distributed to CCUSA membership during February of 2013 to measure programs and services provided between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Responses were received from 53 Catholic Charities agencies in 30 different states who served approximately 3,506,824 people in need over the last year. In 2011, Catholic Charities USA and its network of local agencies served more than 10 million individuals.

About Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA's members provide help and create hope for more than 10 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.

SOURCE Catholic Charities USA