Catholic Charities out of emergency assistance money

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A group dedicated to helping those in need has found itself in need. The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington says they've exhausted funds to help people with things like rent and utilities. Until recently, families in need could qualify once a year to receive help, but now those families are told unless things change, they'll have to look somewhere else.

Unemployed for more than a year, Michael Overstreet says with a wife and three kids to support, he's had trouble keeping up with all his bills. One day in January he found his water disconnected. When he called the water company, they told him he had failed to make his payment. Michael told them he wouldn't have any money until the end of the week. "I would hate for my children to come home and there be no water and have to explain the situation to them," Michael told 27 Newsfirst.

Thanks to the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington, Michael didn't have to do that. He was one of the last success stories to come out of the program before its funds ran dry. Now many families are out of luck. 'I found myself in that situation," Michael said, "I was against the wall, I needed help, and they were there for me. It was something that was unexpected, and I'm knowing that just like me, those other families have to be in the same situation."

Angela Burns is the coordinator for the emergency services department at the Catholic Charities. She says for the past three weeks, she's counted 137 families she's had to turn away, but she hasn't been able to keep track of what happened to them next. "That's the scary thing," she said, "I don't know for sure if they've found the help or if they could be in a shelter right now."

Burns says she realizes this is a tough time for people to donate, but she's hopeful her group will eventually be able to help more people like Michael. "It certainly made a difference in my confidence that things aren't always going to be on the downside," Michael said, "It let me know to reach out and that the help will come."

Michael tells 27 Newsfirst the help he received was just the beginning. The Catholic Charities also introduced him to resume writing classes and mock interviews that he says have helped his job search and his hope for the future.

If you'd like to donate to the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington, you can contact them at:
1310 West Main Street
Lexington, KY 40508

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