The Mission of Catholic Charities of the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is to empower people
in need to transform their lives. We strive to reflect
God’s love and compassion in all that we do.
We are pleased to present a report on the progress we made in 2016 in continuing established programs, developing new initiatives and collaborating locally and across our state to create hope and transform lives. Through the creative energy and passion of our Executive leadership and staff, Diocesan leadership, Board of Directors, volunteers, donors and supporters, we serve over 50,000 people each year. It is with a sense of profound gratitude and humility that we offer our services as always for the greater glory of God. We welcome all those who turn to us for help and celebrate the accomplishments of the people that we are privileged to serve.
In 2016, Our Lady of Hope House celebrated its 25th anniversary of providing residential services to people with developmental disabilities. This residence provides a nurturing and supportive home for as long as a person wishes to live there; among the current residents, six people were part of the original group to open the house in 1991. Damon Hall celebrated its 30th anniversary as a residence for adults with a serious mental illness. A converted convent, the house is home to 14 people who transition on to more independent settings after working on a variety of skills that will help them maintain stable housing, employment or education and social relationships. Damon Hall has been instrumental in helping hundreds of people on their road to recovery. Encompass Health Home was incorporated as an LLC. The Adult Health Home continued to expand its network of care management agencies in Broome County and in December, the Encompass Family Health Home began operations in its 48 county upstate region. It is currently working with 19 care management agencies and a large network of providers who serve high need children in the mental health, foster care, juvenile justice and medical care systems to insure that children obtain proper wellness, health and behavioral health care services. On July 14, Bishop Cunningham, Monsignor John Putano, Father Joe O’Connor and Father Chris Seibt concelebrated a Year of Mercy Mass. The Mass and Bishop Cunningham’s visit honored the services provided by Emergency Assistance staff and volunteers in Catholic Charities food pantries in Binghamton and Endicott which provide over 800,000 meals yearly to individuals and families.
The Bishop’s visit and Mass recognized Pope Francis’ call for a Holy Year of Mercy in 2016 to reflect on works of mercy in Catholic dioceses throughout the world and to show mercy by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and welcoming the stranger.
Craig is a very busy man at the Gregory Avenue IRA. He works, attends Special Olympics and goes weekly to the library. His one dream was to travel to Disney World and meet Mickey Mouse. Craig knew that it would cost a lot of money for the trip. He worked hard, saved, and with the help of his family, had enough to go! Craig and his Supervisor planned the perfect trip: a hotel with a pool, lazy river, room service, and a room with a view of the Disney evening fireworks. Craig was getting more excited day by day. He practiced what he would do at the airport, going through screening, finding the gate, boarding the plane and buckling his seat belt. Craig was all packed and ready to go when the first day of his vacation finally arrived. It was smooth sailing for the flight. After landing in Orlando, finding his luggage, it was time! The weather was great, and he was raring to go! The next morning was Disney Day! He was soooo excited, he would finally meet Mickey Mouse! He wandered to see the exhibits, and shopped in the stores. He was able to meet Mickey and Minnie along with Flick from A Bug’s Life and Pocahontas and ate lunch in a very cool place called Rainforest Café. The animals on the walls there looked like they came to life! The next day was spa day! After pampering, he decided to have lunch by the pool, swim and then get dressed and head to the outlets for some shopping fun! Dinner that night was at the hotel restaurant on the terrace at sunset. Sadly, the end of the trip came, and Craig packed himself up for his return flight to New York. The temperature in Orlando when he left was 75 degrees. When he landed in Syracuse it was 30 degrees and snowing. Let’s go back to Florida!
Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA)
IRAs are single family homes for people with developmental disabilities. They are certified and regulated by the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). There are eight homes located in Endicott, Endwell, Binghamton and the Village of Port Dickinson. The adult men and women living in these homes have varying degrees of abilities and interests. They are involved in a variety of vocational, social and recreational activities in the community depending upon their personal preferences. Each individual and their family have chosen this program and work together with the staff to develop a person centered plan designed to meet the individual’s selected valued outcomes. Each person has a Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) chosen by them from one of the 6 local agencies providing the service. The MSC assists in connecting the person to those services which the team determines to be the most appropriate supports. All service providers along with the individual and their family make up the “Team.” The IRA is home as long as people want to live there. Many people will stay for a lifetime. Others, by their choice, may move to other preferred locations.
- Satisfaction Surveys by participants of Damon Hall, Supported Housing, Twin Rivers Apartments and the Boys Community Residence showed a 97% satisfaction rating. Participants from the Intermediate Care Facility, Individualized Residential Alternative and MSC programs had a satisfaction rating of 97% as well.
- Medicaid Service Coordination was provided to 279 individuals.
- Over 400 individuals were provided with housing.
- Twelve certified apartment beds were replaced with 14 Supported Housing slots for a total of 233 slots.
- Substance Use Services were provided to 368 individuals ; this is 98 more people than were seen during 2015.
IBM retiree Bill Donahue was inspired to volunteer at the Catholic Charities pantry by his wife Diane as she shared stories about the working poor with a waiting room so full that the line would be out the door.
As Bill started to experience first-hand how crucial the pantry is for so many people, he began to think, why not combine his love of classic cars and volunteer work?
Bill joined the Triple Cities Street Rods, in 1999. A classic car collector since the age of thirteen, his prized possession was a 1932 Ford 3-Coupe- “the little Deuce Coupe” of the Beach Boys song and his first car was a 1946 Ford Business Coupe, purchased with the help of his grandmother and paper route for $125.00.
The idea led him to convince his fellow members to raise money for the food pantry. What began as a Sock Hop Fundraiser collecting food in 2005 has evolved into the Cruise-In Pasta Dinner and car show. Over the years the club has raised over $26,000 for the Children’s Summer Lunch Program, which feeds 80-100 children daily and has supported other holiday programs for children and families.
- The Division served 3,042 youth, 1,158 families, 583 adults and 425 seniors, through programs that encourage and support personal growth and development. These community based services prevent youth from entering out of home placement or psychiatric hospitalization, resulting in significant cost savings. Services also promote health and wellness by providing nutritious food, counseling and by helping seniors remain active and connected in the community.
- CCSI served 277 youth in 134 families. Families are provided with a wraparound planning process to meet their goals by building on family strengths. 97% of youth were kept out of placement resulting in a cost savings to Broome County of $10,328,909.
- The Teen Transitional Living Program (TTLP) provides runaway and homeless teens with a safe, structured and supportive living environment while they attend school, work and learn independent living skills. 31 teens were served including one parenting teen; 94% were enrolled in an educational program and 41% became employed after entering the program. Residents completed 17 community service projects including painting at ACHIEVE, chores at Stable Movements Therapeutic Horse Farm and building a ramp through Ramp It Up.
- Family Counseling Program provides individual, couples and family counseling by Licensed Social Workers. 1,875 sessions were held with 477 families consisting of 388 adults and 89 children. 82% reported an improvement in their symptoms and functioning.
Four Seasons Club provides a base of support from which members venture out onto their life journey. It provides a work ordered day for people who would like to return to work or further education. In many ways, the Club has saved people’s lives by helping them to understand that they can recover from mental illness and that life is worth living. The support provided at the Club helps people understand that there are other people who care about them. Last year the program was put out to bid and there was the potential for the Club to close and be transitioned to another entity. Members became upset and we had to work with people to help them to channel their energy and anxiety into advocacy on their own behalf. They engaged in letter writing and attended legislative committee meetings; they brought their family members to speak as well. Members gave tours and explained to our local leaders what the Club really means to them in terms of support and improvement in their mental health. The happy ending to this crisis culminated on St. Patrick’s Day and the decision was made to keep the Clubhouse intact; we call it our St. Patrick’s Day miracle. We hope that Four Seasons will continue and thrive for many more years and we look forward to providing support in new ways in the coming year.
- Assertive Community Treatment served a total of 74 individuals to assist them with daily living needs and clinical treatment for their serious mental illness. They provided over 4,600 face-to-face visits over the course of the year.
- 165 persons were provided with Employment Services.
- Protective Services for Adults (PSA) provided case management and representative payee services to over 380 people at risk of abuse and neglect. This is a 26% increase over 2015. Services assist people in maintaining housing, finances and basic needs such
as food and clothing.
- Peer Staff at A Stepping Stone Drop in Center provided 600 people with a supportive environment, self-help groups to assist in recovery and a nourishing daily meal.
- Van service and discounted bus fares were provided to 310 people to help them get to needed medical appointments and to other necessary community services.
Collaboration among Catholic Charities and its partners in upstate NY has led to the creation of a Health Home Serving Children (HHSC) named Encompass. What is Encompass Health Home? Well, it isn’t a home that you physically go to; it’s a home for your health. Encompass Health Home is an evolving network of over 60 care management agencies throughout 48 counties experienced in serving individuals through a diversity of services across all ages. It is led by Catholic Charities in each of 5 regions: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and The Northern Region. Every Care Manager has access to the electronic health record which has really changed how services and care is coordinated. It allows staff to enter notes and care plans along with access to real time alerts on diagnosis, prescriptions, medical tests, crisis center visits and ER visits. This helps to monitor the client’s progress and development by: ensuring a child gets appointments with doctors, dentists, mental health providers or specialists along with appointment reminders; inviting people considered important to keeping the child healthy, safe and on track to a meeting with the family to talk about how it can be done together; linking families and children with others who have been in similar situations so that they can share their successes and be inspired; being available to help whenever needed, 24/7.
Catholic Charities of Broome County (CCBC) continued to expand its Adult Health Home enrollment by adding 685 new members. Health Home services support coordinated, comprehensive medical and behavioral health care to members with chronic conditions through care coordination that assures access to appropriate services, improves health outcomes, reduces preventable hospitalizations and emergency room visits, promotes use of Health Information Technology (HIT), and avoids unnecessary care. The Health Home program ended the year having served a total of 1,422 members through enrollment and another 2,788 in outreach for a total served of 4,210.
We were pleased to be awarded a Level 2 Redesignation for three years and approval to operate as a Health Home Serving Children (HHSC) in 37 of the 48 approved counties. Our annual satisfaction survey results showed an overall consumer satisfaction rating of 100%.
A unique aspect to the CCBC Health Home is the implementation of the Outreach Team which served over 2,788 individuals. The Outreach Team has also implemented new methods of reaching out to people that may be struggling with their health and well-being by increasing our presence in the community.
Health Homes Serving Children After two years of preparation, the first ever joint effort by Catholic Charities agencies across NYS was launched. 2016 was full of numerous readiness activities preparing for the “Go Live” date. The Governance and structure were implemented as a new legal entity for the Health Home program: Encompass Health Home. The governing board for Encompass consists of Diocesan Directors from the four regional Diocesan Offices and the Catholic Charities Director of the NYS Catholic Conference. After several delays, the final start date was December first for enrollment of children. By the end of December, we had 87 enrolled from CCBC, 62 from the other agencies and 11 in outreach status for a total of 160.
Following our theme and tagline: Creating Hope, Transforming Lives, Catholic Charities will be engaged in some new and exciting initiatives in 2017: InShape is an evidenced based program funded by SAMSHA and Dartmouth University. InShape pairs a health mentor with individuals who are experiencing a serious mental illness. The goal of the project is to assist individuals in achieving their health goals in areas such as nutrition, exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation. Catholic Charities was one of 16 organizations selected nationwide to participate in this research project. Catholic Charities will be offering a set of 10 new services that will be provided in an individualized flexible way in areas such as employment, family support, community support and rehabilitation, empowerment and crisis response. These services are for people who may need a high level of service in order to achieve recovery in relation to a serious mental illness. Encompass Health Home will be rolling out its care management services for children in 48 counties across upstate NY to help high-need children improve health and achieve their hopes and dreams. Catholic Charities food pantries will be partnering with local farmers who would like to donate produce to help close the community hunger gap; participating farmers will be able to obtain tax credits for their donations.