Monday, April 13, 2009

Poverty on the rise in Stuben County, New York

The local Catholic Charities for Stuben County, New York was profiled in a story today. The word from the workers for the Catholic Charities are that more people are asking for help these days.

From the Evening Tribune, writer Justin Head surveys the amount of need in the area.

“What we are talking about here is the hidden face of poverty. I call it the hidden face of poverty because if you are not looking for it you won’t even know it’s there, but the reality is a lot of people need help and are in troublesome situations,” said Andy Mazzella, assistant director of Steuben County Catholic Charities.

Mazzella said there has been a 26- to 28-percent increase in services being sought after in the Hornell, Bath and Corning Catholic Charities’ offices.

“We are seeing a new group of people coming here, the newly poor. These are people that are poor for the very first time,” said Donna Mehlenbacher, program manager for the Hornell Turning Point. She said her staff is seeing a large rise in the number of people needing help who have jobs but are getting their hours cut because of the bad economy.

She said many people that are assisted at Turning Point are living in their cars or alternating between several different places of their kin and sleeping on the floors of friends’ places.
“Some of these people are well put together,” said Mehlenbacher.

She also reported that since the Internal Revenue Service stopped sending out tax forms, there has been a rise in the number of people requesting help with their income taxes.

Mehlenbacher said since Turning Point opened up in June the location has seen a steadily increasing volume of those who are in need.

Mehlenbacher compiled a write up of some of her cases that include a homeless couple from Hornell that walked the streets for four days, a cancer patient who can’t afford living expenses because of his medical costs and a single mother of four who can’t afford living arrangements even though she works full time at medical facility.

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