‘Catholic Charities USA Day’ at the White House

Tomorrow is being billed as “Catholic Charities USA Day” at the White House.

At least that’s how Roger Conner, the agency’s senior director for communications, described the day to Catholic News Service.

“It’s a very special day at the White House with the administration for Catholic Charities,” he said.

About 160 leaders from Catholic Charities agencies throughout the country are planning to meet with administration officials. They will be part of a policy briefing to exchange ideas on the economy, human services, housing and immigration, all key concerns for local Catholic Charities agencies.

A press release from Conner’s office quoted Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, as describing the organization “an incredible network of social service organizations that support our neighbors in need.”

He also said the administration was looking forward to meeting with Catholic Charities leaders from around the U.S. for “a day of discussion and collaboration as we work towards our shared goals.”

In the backdrop of the meeting is last month’s release of statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau showing significant increases in poverty in 2010. Overall, 15.1 percent of the population, or 46.2 million people, live in poverty, the bureau reported. That’s an all-time high in terms of numbers.

The Washington gathering also follows Catholic Charities USA’s first annual National Poverty Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, and the reintroduction of the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, legislation developed by Catholic Charities USA to identify long-term solutions to poverty.