Our Family

Catholic Charities provides critically necessary help for adults, children, and seniors when they are in their darkest hours. The vast majority of the families we serve are poor and low-income families who are barely just getting by each month with their own resources. Then they are confronted by a foreseen crisis that disrupts the already precariousness of their lives.

The events that can take a family from relative stability to complete uncertainty often occurs in rapid and unpredictable ways. For low-income families—a sudden event or loss sets off a domino effect of circumstances that can quickly lead to a crisis. Job loss, a decrease in scheduled hours at work, a car that must be repaired, an unexpected illness or hospital visit, or even a death in the immediate family can be the catalyst that destabilizes an already fragile reality.

The families that come to us have nowhere else to turn for help. Catholic Charities is there to do whatever may be possible to help these families regain stability and move forward with their lives.  Their difficulties are often complicated, and they simply do not have the resources to solve their problems without support from the community.

Catholic Charities views those we help as possessing tremendous strengths and potential. Like all of us, they have hopes and dreams for a better life for themselves and their children.  However, these families—especially those at the lowest end of the income scale, often face massive institutional, economic, environmental, and social barriers.  Many are struggling to address multiple problems simultaneously.

These families may be judged as irresponsible and lazy “takers” when in fact the most basic opportunities required for self-sufficiency—a steady income, sufficient housing, opportunities for a good education and training, reliable transportation, truly affordable healthcare—are simply not available to them. They cannot move their lives forward without support from the wider community, so they can recover from an immediate crisis and regain their fragile stability.  These are the families that require the care and attention of Catholic Charities.

The Need

For nearly 40 years, Catholic Charities has distinguished itself as one of the most flexible, competent, and tireless providers of social services in the two-county area. However, the local needs of families in our region far, far exceed not only our organization’s resources, but the limited resources of all public and private providers of human services combined.

Catholic Charities assists thousands of families each year, yet the reality is that we are able to serve only a fraction of those who absolutely need our assistance. We do all we can with what we have each year to meet local needs, and we are constantly seeking out new public and private resources to maintain and expand our necessary work.  But the gap between need and available resources is enormous.

Imagine if there was only one hospital in your county due to limited resources.  Such a scenario would be clearly insufficient to meet the pressing medical needs of all of the families requiring hospital services in any day.  Only a handful of the families that desperately required hospital care would receive services.  The remaining families would have to wait fearing the worst or simply not be served at all.

Such is the reality of non-profit organizations in our Inland Counties that are trying to address the significant needs of tens of thousands of low-income families.  With the overwhelming need for social services in our communities combined with extremely limited resources to help, the vast majority of families that desperately need social services either cannot be fully assisted or do not receive help at all.

Compared to coastal counties in California, the Inland Counties lack a strong private funding community: a critical mass of high-net worth, philanthropically-minded individuals, large private foundations, and multi-national corporations based in and committed to supporting their communities. Although Riverside and San Bernardino Counties make up more than 10% of the population of the state of California, these counties receive only 1% of the state’s philanthropic resources. Additionally, there is also a dearth of highly collaborative, essential partnerships between nonprofit organizations and public human services agencies in the Inland Region, partnerships that are typical in more urban areas.

In our Inland Counties, we have the perfect storm with very limited private and public resources, dramatic human service needs, and only a handful of organizations providing direct services to desperate families in need of support. The dramatic need for social services within the two counties is here now and growing.

Local Poverty

The average market rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment in the Inland Counties is $1,302.  With average utilities cost added, then total housing costs are approximately $1,500 per month or $18,000 annually.

The 2017 HHS Federal Poverty Line is $20,420 for a family of three, $24,600 for a family of four, and $28,780 for a family of five.

2015 Census Data indicates there are 379,985 persons in San Bernardino County (19.5% of total population) and 397,766 in Riverside County (16.8% of total population) living under the poverty line. This is a total of 777,751 adults, children, and seniors (18% of total population) living in poverty representing 235,681 households.  Over ¼ of a million families in our region are very poor.

*27% of all children in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties are living in poverty.*