Have you wondered how Catholic Charities and your support have impacted those in the community? Here are some stories from actual clients who came to us for assistance. (Where applicable, the names have been changed).
Emergency Services, Help*Works
A woman called Catholic Charities Steuben/Livingston at the Mt. Morris location needing assistance. She explained how she was behind in her rent due to paying vet bills for her sick dog. While living on a fixed income she had no money left to pay rent for the month. She also mentioned she was having issues with her washer and dryer. She stated the washer has completely stopped and the dryer works only when it wants to. There is a washer and dryer at her complex, but it is hard to access with her wheelchair while juggling the laundry as well. She is elderly & disabled, paralyzed from the waist down, has two rare diseases, chronic pain, diabetes, non-alcoholic liver disease, spinal issues and incontinence.
Jessica Pierce, the Emergency Services caseworker at the Mt. Morris location contacted a handyman to check to see if the washer and dryer could be repaired. The handyman reported back that the washer and dryer were non-fixable. The caseworker then contacted Lowe’s in Henrietta, NY and purchased the woman a new washer and dryer for her home. This was possible through funding from the ESL Charitable Foundation/ United Way of Greater Rochester and Project Uplift Extension Funds. She was so grateful and thanked the caseworker many times as now she could do her laundry in the comfort of her home.
Emergency Services, Help*Works
Help*Works recently had the opportunity to work with a single Mom in her late 20’s with her overdue rent. She was able to pay her current rent after she started her job at a local convenience store; however, she was not able to catch up on her back rent. She lost her previous job due to transportation issues and lack of daycare, but both issues have since been rectified. She is currently getting SNAP benefits for herself and 2nd grade son, so the Help Works caseworker made sure she was aware of the local food pantry and the mobile food truck schedule. What started out as assistance with late rent transformed into additional resources in her community and financial counseling with increased household budget awareness.
With CSBG (Community Service Block Grant) funding, Catholic Charities Steuben/Livingston was able to assist a woman with back rent that she owed her landlord. The woman needed financial assistance due to being in and out of the hospital and visits to the UR Medicine- Wilmot Cancer Center. The woman had cancer in her breast and in the compression fracture in her spine. While trying to work two jobs to pay the bills, she only had one paystub for the month. The woman also received referrals to other services that may be able to help her financially. She was truly appreciative of all the assistance we had provided her. Without this funding this would not have been possible.
Emergency Services staff was recently able to help a family of 3 stay in their apartment when they fell behind on their rent. Both parents were able to continue working throughout the pandemic as essential workers; however, when they needed to pay for a car repair, they did not have any extra funds available for their rent. Instead of allowing themselves to fall months behind, they discussed the issue with their long-term landlord and he suggested they reach out to Catholic Charities for help. We are proud that we could help this family and their landlord stay out of debt.
Emergency Services, Turning Point
Andrea is a single mother of three children, all under the age of ten. Andrea and her children are victims of domestic violence. She and her three young children had to flee from her offender. They have been staying with an elderly family member for quite some time, trying to find a place to call home. Andrea works in healthcare and has very long days, making it difficult to search for apartments and be able to set appointments to look at them. Andrea reached out to Turning Point for help. She was told about our rental assistance program and was excited to hear about the help she could receive. Andrea was able to find an affordable place and pay for her own security deposit. Turning Point assisted with her first month’s rent. Andrea and her children now have their own space and can start their “new” life together.
Steve entered the employment program as a recently single father of 3, with a number of employment barriers. These included child care and transportation issues. Steve was determined to find a job, so we attempted job searching to start. After no success we decided work experience would be a good option, helping Steve get used to a regular schedule and gain contacts for a potential job. Steve started work experience at a senior nutrition site 3 days a week, and was provided transportation to and from the work site. After about a month, the supervisor asked to add a day a week to his schedule because he was doing so well. Within the next 5 months, Steve obtained his license and a car through a family member. All this time, continuing to apply for jobs. Eventually, his hard work paid off and Steve obtained a full-time position with another senior nutrition site, in part thanks to a glowing recommendation from his site supervisor. Steve has been at that same job a year now, and has worked his way off public assistance.
HOPE Youth Mentoring, OUR MENTORING STORY, from the White Family:
TJ wanted to get into a mentoring program for a few years. His motivation was “I wanted to make a positive change for a child.”
We saw an article in the Livingston County News last January about Hope Mentoring and TJ knew immediately that he wanted to reach out. One of the statistics in the article that really touched all of us was the number of children on the waiting list. It was sad that children that just needed a little extra attention were on waiting lists for years. After finding out that the expectations were so reasonable, spend 4 hours per month doing something fun with your mentee, Todd and Shelly decided to apply for the program as well.
The time that we spend with our mentees is fun! The smiles and enthusiasm from the children make mentoring very fulfilling. TJ’s favorite memory so far was the excitement when he took his mentee fishing. Shelly enjoys revisiting fun activities she used to do when her own children were younger, tie dying, carving pumpkins, mini-golf, etc. One of the mentees even said they wanted to carve pumpkins together every year until they turned 31. Todd has a newer relationship with his mentee. It sometimes takes a while to find the right match and the Hope Mentor staff is very careful to set up a relationship that has the right elements for success.
We missed spending time with our mentees when the state was shut down. We were very happy to get the green light to see them again with appropriate safety precautions. Of course the pandemic and safety concerns require you to think outside the box. We have come up with some ideas that maybe we would not have thought of in more usual circumstances, like cooking dinner together over a bon fire.
Catholic Charities and the Hope Mentoring staff are very supportive and provide a lot of materials and resources to help you as you develop the relationship. We would recommend mentoring to anyone who would like more joy in their lives and has 4 hours per month to spend on fun activities making a child happy.
Emergency Services, Turning Point
Turning Point is proud to share the story of a client that we have worked with. She is an African American woman in her late 60’s, who is a veteran battling PTSD, addiction recovery, and additional mental health disorders. Through much dedication, she was able to obtain her Peer Support Certification and gain employment. Due to a delay in her new employer receiving her background check results, she was able to successfully work for 6 months at a job that she was perfect for; however, she was terminated once those results were received.
Since January 2021, she has worked tirelessly to contact Albany, her VA Lawyer Liaison, and multiple counties where she lived or had criminal drug charges. Her goal was to prove that she had turned her life around by getting the treatment she so desperately needed. She needed to prove that she was not a menace to society and could benefit others. She was able to obtain over 25 personal letters of recommendation for good conduct from those in her community who knew her well.
On a happy day in June 2021, she came to Turning Point to share she had received a letter from the State of New York showing she had achieved Good Conduct Status. The marks on her record could no longer be held against her. She is now able to be re-instated at her place of employment.
The Turning Point team originally did not believe they had done much for her, because they had not paid her rent, utility or supplied her with emergency food. These are the usual services we provide, so it is easy to overlook the other services the team provides.
More than 30 emails and faxes were sent during this difficult period, but even more importantly, they offered her a smile, support, and hope when she felt low or that overcoming her past was too difficult a task.
Emergency Services, Turning Point
Turning Point has been working with “Cindy” for a few years at our Hornell site. When Cindy started utilizing our services, she was in a very low place in her life. She had multiple substance abuse cases, untreated mental health conditions, as well as, family issues with her children. It was very difficult to get Cindy to keep an appointment. At some appointments, she could not remember why she was here, at others, she was intoxicated and could not participate in our services.
Cindy eventually hit rock bottom and her children were placed in foster care. Months without hearing from Cindy passed. During the pandemic, she reached out to get help with her utility bill. Through referrals and community partnerships, Cindy has managed to begin the difficult task of turning her life around.
There are few words to adequately describe the transformation that has taken place in Cindy. She calls often to update staff with her progress. She has worked hard to follow through on the tasks asked of her. Now when Cindy arrives at our office, she appears sober, organized, and has gained a healthy weight. Recently, Cindy shared how proud she is to have gotten her children back. This is partly because she has found safer and healthier living arrangements. Cindy is now utilizing preventive services; she has gotten her permit and bought a vehicle. Cindy also shared that she attends a local community church and prayer groups 3-4 times a week and she could not be happier. She is thankful that Turning Point always provided her a welcoming environment regardless of the current situation she was facing.