On the front lines in fighting poverty, Catholic Charities agencies struggle to meet growing need for services

Growing numbers of people from among the working poor, families and the middle class are turning to Catholic Charities agencies for assistance as the U.S. economy continues to stagnate.

The latest quarterly survey of Catholic Charities agencies, covering the second quarter of 2010 and released today, found that America’s working class continues to become the working poor.

The 41 responding agencies reported that one- and two-income households were increasingly seeking assistance to pay their bills, put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads and keep the lights on.

The pressure to provide services to growing numbers of clients, including homeless people, children and senior citizens, has grown throughout 2010 as the economic crisis continued. The responding agencies reported that they are struggling to meet the growing request for services, especially as additional cuts in government funding are likely.

“Harsh financial outlooks hamper the ability to provide services,” Catholic Charities reported. “With even more state budget cuts looming and individual donations decreasing, agencies find themselves largely treading water, doing whatever is necessary to maintain operations and serve the growing number of people in despair.”

The agencies also found that more people were facing difficulties in finding jobs, especially those providing a livable wage, and getting training to develop job skills. The need for transportation and child care also posed road blocks for people looking for work.

The full survey is available here.

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