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Catholic Urban Programs Partners with the United Way of Greater St. Louis to Deliver Homeless Prevention Services to People Impacted by Covid-19


The most cost-effective and efficient way to deal with the issue of homelessness is to prevent it from happening. For people who lack a personal safety net, the potential of becoming homeless is often one paycheck, health challenge, employment issue, or family emergency away. This issue is greatly magnified by the pandemic. Thanks to the generosity of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and donors to the Illinois Covid-19 Response Fund, CUP was able to deliver $10,000 in homeless prevention services to nine households in July. These households represent 11 adults and 10 children. We appreciate the clients mentioned in this story for allowing us to share their experiences. Catholic Urban Programs has changed the names of the clients to protect their privacy.

Joyce, a recently divorced mother of two, had full-time employment prior to being diagnosed with the coronavirus. Having a severe case of the disease, Joyce was out of work three months. Now healthy and back to work full-time, Joyce and her young children were at risk for homelessness due to being behind on rent and utilities. With a little help getting caught up on her bills, Joyce no longer fears becoming homeless.

Belinda is a single mother who had full-time employment prior to the pandemic. With an income too far above the poverty level to qualify for government assistance, Belinda struggled to make ends meet and had to file for bankruptcy. Being furloughed only increased Belinda’s burden, and caused her to get further behind with her finances. With late utility and rent bills, Belinda and her daughter were at risk for becoming homeless even though she is once again working full-time. Belinda received the help she needed to get caught up on utility and rental payments.

Jordan and his roommate, George were both impacted by the pandemic. Jordan’s hours were reduced, and George was furloughed. The roommates found themselves three months behind in utility payments and delinquent in their rent. Catholic Urban Programs was able to assist in both areas, giving Jordan and George peace of mind in these uncertain times.

Sierra is a single mother of a toddler who was dealt a difficult blow being laid off and diagnosed with the coronavirus at the same time. Upon recovering from the virus, Sierra informed her manager that she was well and ready to return to work only to find out her employer was not ready for her return. For a period of two months, Sierra was unable to pay her rent and utilities. Having recently secured a new full-time job, Sierra needed help getting caught up on rent and utilities and feels great about being back on track.

“The founder of Catholic Urban Programs often spoke about our role being one of ‘listening to broken hearts’,” said Toni Muhammad, Executive Director. “Our Housing Navigator, Carmelia Williams, did just that while quickly deploying these much-needed funds. Carmelia was inspired by the resilience of the clients she was able to assist, especially the single mothers who overcame the coronavirus and wage loss. We are so happy to have had the opportunity to partner with the United Way of Greater St. Louis in assisting these wonderful families.”

The mission of Catholic Urban Programs is to advance the dignity of the human person, remediate the effects of poverty, and empower people to become self-sufficient through crisis intervention housing security, and out of school time programs.

Catholic Urban Programs Selected by the United Way of Greater St. Louis as a Safety Net Organization

The team at Catholic Urban Programs is delighted to announce that the United Way of Greater St. Louis has chosen us as a 2021-2023 Safety Net organization. We are grateful to the team at the United Way for their investment in our work. The United Way of Greater St. Louis invested three years and a team of experts in doing in-depth research to identify the greatest needs in our community on a county-by-county basis. In St. Clair County, CUP’s focus areas of crisis intervention, housing security, and out of school time programming were identified among the top priority needs.

“This is such an exciting time for Catholic Urban Programs,” said Toni Muhammad, Executive Director. “I am so grateful to the United Way for entrusting our organization with this level of support and for recognizing us as a vital safety net organization in the St. Louis region.”

We will know more about the level of funding we receive after the United Way campaign winds down in November. We encourage our supporters to support the United Way’s fall campaign!

State Farm Agents Donate $20,000 to CUP

Catholic Urban Programs State Farm Donation
On June 3rd State Farm Agents from the St. Clair County area joined forces to contribute $20,000 to Catholic Urban Programs’ utility and food support programs to assist families experiencing hardships in these unprecedented times. We enjoyed having several agents visit for a check presentation and tour of our food pantry. The company’s tagline could not be more true: “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there.” Our thanks to the following agents: Dave Raetz, Tony White, Steve Knapp, Katherine Frazier, Dave Threlkeld, Dave Slimack, Doreen Jordan, Rob Isringhausen, Carol Compton-Mcdonald, Mike Morrill, Elisa Hager, Kate Elder, and Aaron Fields.

Catholic Urban Programs Celebrates Allsup Charitable Services

Thank you, Allsup Charitable Services! (1)
Catholic Urban Programs celebrated the one-year anniversary of our relationship with Allsup Charitable Services (ACS) earlier this month. We are grateful to Jim Allsup for gifting Catholic Urban Programs with the business consultative services of this talented team. Even in the midst of the pandemic, our work in key areas of strategic planning, data analysis, human resource management, process mapping and more has continued. With a motto of “Your Mission, Our Time” the team at ACS has made a huge difference at CUP! Their in-kind business consultative services and friendship mean everything to us! We were able to surprise the ACS team with the video below via a Microsoft Teams call.

Facility at Vieux Carre and 157 Renamed for Joe Hubbard

Catholic Urban Programs Vieux Carre
Located at Highway 157 and Vieux Carre, the newly renamed “HUB” is short for “Hubbard” and also represents the services delivered in this facility: (H)ousing, (U)tilities, (B)asic Needs. “As we move forward into our new fiscal year, we do so with renewed purpose, aligned programs, and always with the legacy of our founders in mind,” said Toni Muhammad, Executive Director. “In our planning process something just clicked and we knew ‘The HUB’ was the perfect name for our facility and a great way to honor Joe Hubbard!”

Known mostly for our food pantry and utility assistance programs, The HUB will soon become home to our new ANCHORS Housing Navigation Resource Center. Long planned for a July 1st launch, CUP staff is working to revise its plans to accommodate as much virtual engagement as possible. Workshops on utility management, landlord/tenant rights, and budgeting are currently being planned virtually. Stay tuned for more information about the new ANCHORS program!

Catholic Urban Programs

P.O. Box 3310
East St. Louis, IL 62203
618-398-5616

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    P.O. Box 3310
    East St. Louis, IL 62203
    618-398-5616
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