.- A new survey of Catholic Charities agencies across the country shows requests for help, especially among the working class, are increasing sharply. There are more requests than funds to provide assistance, putting continued strain on social services during the Christmas season.
The survey, drawn from 88 Catholic Charities agencies across the country, indicates a growing number of working poor are going to Catholic Charities agencies in search of assistance. Four out of five Catholic Charities agencies reported more requests for help from this group. In addition, 68 percent of these agencies reported more families, rather than individuals, coming for assistance.
"As the cost of living increases, particularly housing expenses, poor and working poor families are increasingly unable to fully provide for their basic needs," explained Ken Sawa, CEO and executive vice president for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Bernardino.
"Many families in our diocese are walking a tightrope, hoping to have enough just to make it through the day and keep from falling into poverty," said Rachel Hrbolich, associate director of social services for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio.
"People are no longer simply delinquent with a bill or in need of food. They are delinquent with several bills, need food, clothing and medication, and are in danger of foreclosure/eviction or are homeless."
Agencies reported by a 3-to-1 margin (76 percent), that local agencies believe that it will be harder to meet the needs of those they serve this holiday season because the need is greater.