Cutbacks Hit Faith-Based Charities as Need Rises

Slashed state budgets leave programs with reduced funding
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2009 2:55 PM CST
Nuns pray during the National Prayer Vigil for Life mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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(Newser) – The recession has hit faith-based charities hard, threatening to cut off vital services for the sick, poor, and elderly, the Washington Post reports. With state and local budgets strapped for cash, contracts and grants for the groups—including the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities—have been slashed or delayed across the country. California, for example, will soon start making all payments to such groups with IOUs instead of cash.

The cash squeeze means that these groups must lay off staffers or freeze job vacancies just as demand for their services is increasing. "It's only going to continue to get worse," said the leader of Catholic Charities. "Our folks out in the field are feeling a little overwhelmed because ... all they see are more and more people coming and fewer resources coming their way. And yet we don't have the luxury to say, 'You know what? We're going to close our doors for a while.' "