Still rebuilding after Katrina, Catholic aid program gives $515,000

.- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) today announced the awarding of more than half a million dollars in special grants to groups assisting low-income victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rebuild their lives and communities.

Disbursal of the $515,000 follows a separate allocation of $150,000 provided in late September for hurricane relief.

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on CCHD, announced the 20 grants at a New Orleans press conference. The grants range from $10,000 to $30,000 and cover 11 dioceses.

The poor “need a place at the table as the Gulf Coast plans to rebuild,” Bishop Hubbard stated. “There is much work to be done and we need to listen carefully to their voices and see clearly their needs.”

According to the bishop, the latest allocations “will help the Gulf Coast’s poor and low-income population organize to address and solve their unique long-term needs” and help ensure they “have a voice in the important decisions to be made as cities and communities are rebuilt.”

He commended “the many faith-based groups and community advocacy groups who have joined CCHD in helping the region during this crisis.”

Bishop Hubbard was joined at the podium by Auxiliary Bishop Roger Morin of New Orleans, who refused to leave his post during the hurricane in order to continue ministering to others.

Funds distributed by CCHD come from individual Catholics who donate to a nationwide church collection each year, usually in the fall. Over the years, CCHD has provided more than $280 million in grants. Last September, it awarded nearly $9 million as part of its annual grant cycle assisting local projects that attack the root causes of poverty.

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