Monday, April 27, 2009
Catholic Charities Help Center is the new name of the program formerly called Emergency Services.
The Help Center encompasses services that pertain to assistance such as food, case management, connections to community resources, and limited financial assistance based on an assessment of need and available funding. Employees speak English and Spanish and understand the specific needs of Hispanics, offering resources to meet their needs.
Located at 437 N. Topeka, in downtown Wichita, the Help Center meets the needs of those who are unemployed, living on a limited or fixed income, the working poor, those unable to work because of disability or illness, and those living on limited government assistance. The Help Center works to prevent unplanned difficult situations from worsening, helping clients form a plan to meet future needs.
“The new name, Catholic Charities Help Center, captures what we do and the diversity of our support as we work to meet varying needs,” said Janet Valente Pape, Executive Director. “It is simple and straightforward. We are here to help and if we can’t help directly, we’ll help indirectly offering guidance and connections to other community partners who provide assistance.”
As part of this name change, Catholic Charities Hispanic Social Services has merged into Help Center. Hispanic families and individuals receive help according to their need. They may include translation of paperwork and letters, referrals to community resources such as doctors and lawyers, and advocacy.
Help Center services include extended case management of two to four sessions on average, helping clients to identify financial strengths, set short- and long-term goals, guidance to carry out those goals – with the common of goal of establishing better life choices. If a case manager identifies financial need, the Help Center may provide limited financial assistance with electric, gas or water bills, rent or other needs to stabilize the family or individual and prevent homelessness.
The food pantry continues to provide food to households based on the number of people living in the home once a month. Those who need assistance can also receive Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) referrals. A staff member from the SRS works on-site each Wednesday and provides clients direct access to Kansas Food Assistance, childcare, and job counseling with no appointment necessary.
Compared to last year, the Help Center food pantry has seen an increase of more than 21 percent in clients receiving food in the first quarter of 2009. In addition, food items in those months decreased 36 percent from last year leaving the pantry shelves bare.
The Help Center will stay open late on Tuesday, May 5 to receive food donations and offer tours to those interested in learning more as part of an open house that highlights the Center and Marriage for Keeps, a project of Catholic Charities. The Help Center is at 437 N. Topeka and will be open to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. for much needed food donations and for the public to see firsthand where assistance to the community takes place.
To learn more about Catholic Charities Help Center and other programs please visit our Web site at www.providinghelp.org.
To learn more about the Marriage for Keeps Open House, happening at 437 N. Topeka and Newman University, Sacred Heart Hall, 3100 McCormick Ave., please call 264-8344, extension 322.