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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Catholic Charities Launches Campaign To Cut Poverty In Half

Catholic Charities USA today announced a new multi-year initiative to cut poverty in half by2020, urging Congress and the Bush administration to give a much higher priority to the needs of the poor in budget and policy decisions on issues such as health care, housing, nutrition, and economic security.

"Poverty is a moral and social wound on the soul of our country and threatens the health and economic well-being of both families and our nation," Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, said at a briefing this morning on Capitol Hill. "We must marshal the strength andthe collective will of our nation to take on this tragedy that affects 37 million people who are living in poverty in one of the wealthiest nations in the world."

"The Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America is about who we are as a nation," Father Snyder said. "We must no longer ignore the injustice ofpoverty and the extreme in equality in America and instead must seize this opportunity to advocate for changes that promote human dignity and thecommon good."

The goal of Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America is to cut the poverty rate in the United States in half by 2020. Catholic Charities USA is leading a broad effort that will involve partners in social serviceagencies, the faith community, and other groups in a sustained effort to convince government officials of the importance of making systemic changes in government programs to help the poor and most vulnerable in our society.

With more than 275 years of experience in serving those living in poverty, Catholic Charities has a unique understanding of this growing problem and its devastating impact on families and the nation.

"Catholic Charities agencies provide help and offer hope to more than 7.4 million people each year, and in communities across the country, our agencies have been coping with a steady increase in demand for emergencyassistance, primarily among working families," Father Snyder said. "Each day, our agencies serve families who work hard but still do not earn enough to provide for their basic needs."

"Catholic Charities USA pledges its experience and resources to help reduce poverty in America. But, we can only succeed with the activeinvolvement of Congress and the administration. Only through partnershipsbetween government and community leaders like Catholic Charities, will we develop the capacity and the scale necessary to attack poverty in a comprehensive and sustained way," said Father Snyder.

Catholic Charities USA's Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America will urge Congress and the administration to improve programs and policies in four key issue areas: health care, affordable housing, nutritionassistance, and family economic security for the poor and vulnerable.

"Good government is about making choices and setting priorities that serve the common good, and we will work in partnership in this campaignwith Catholic organizations and other partners to encourage elected leaders to give greater priority to attending to the needs of the poorest and mostvulnerable persons in society," Father Snyder said. "Choices made in the federal budget process about what is funded -- and how to pay for it --must be judged by whether the life and dignity of families are protected or undermined."

Key components of the campaign will include sustained and comprehensive outreach to the administration and Congress as well as activities in local communities throughout the country on the need for action to reduce poverty, Catholic Charities says.

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