Published May 11, 2007
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin recently selected Catholic Social Services, Inc., to receive the Phoenix Award for its relief efforts and services to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
Franklin invited all service organizations to the “Tribute of Triumph” event at the Trolley Barn on April 25. Catholic Social Services was honored along with 30 other agencies.
CSS began to serve evacuees immediately after the storm struck, as evacuees fled to Atlanta from the Gulf Coast.
The Catholic Charities USA Network, of which CSS is a member, awarded the agency with a $560,000 grant, in addition to the $25,000 direct assistance fund from the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta also gave CSS two housing grants, one direct assistant grant and one job counseling grant totaling more than $180,000. These monies were used to assist hurricane evacuees to transition into permanent housing by supplying them with their first month’s rent, food, and gas vouchers, free counseling sessions, and employment services.
With the tremendous outpouring of support from parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Catholic Social Services assisted evacuees in replacing the many personal items they lost, such as clothing, furniture and a myriad of goods and services.
CSS has continued to provide relief to evacuees and established an “Emergency Services Program” as part of its organization. As of April 2006 CSS has served more than 3,200 evacuee families in the metro Atlanta area.
The new Emergency Services program, which is located at Grace United Methodist Church on Ponce de Leon Avenue, provides comprehensive case management services. Currently CSS is a partner with Fannie Mae in placing evacuee families in Fannie Mae foreclosed homes for 18 months of free rent. CSS also helps to find affordable housing, provides job counseling and other information & referral services.
The agency is currently looking for volunteers to help with client services and data entry. For more information call Simone Blanchard, Program Director-Emergency Services, at (404) 885-7265.