By Larry Bussone, Diocese of Juneau Business Manager

In its 42nd year of service to communities throughout Southeast Alaska, Catholic Community Service (CCS) is burdened with a serious budgetary crisis. Over the past 10 years the agency has heavily subsidized many of its essential programs, especially Hospice & Home Care of Juneau and Child Care and Family Resource children and family programs. Those programs have lost more than $1 million over the years, losses that have had to be covered by profitable CCS programs as well as the use of agency fund reserves. The fund reserves largely have been depleted, formerly profitable programs are struggling to balance their budgets, three programs have been closed this fiscal year, and more are being scrutinized for closure or transfer to other agencies.

CCS ‘Care-a-Vans’ offer transportation to seniors and those needing special assistance and have become a recognizable presence of a CCS in the Juneau community.
CCS ‘Care-a-Vans’ offer transportation to seniors and those needing special assistance and have become a recognizable presence of a CCS in the Juneau community.

Why is CCS in financial difficulty?

The financial difficulties primarily are the result of the rising cost of doing business while revenues have largely remained flat. Over the 10 years expenses have increased by 39 percent, while revenues have increased by just 19 percent. With annual program budgets in the millions of dollars, the gap between revenues and expenses has been large and over time added up to more than $1 million in losses. Additionally, federal and state regulations have tightened to require significantly more compliance effort for billing of Medicaid and Medicare, even as those two sources of revenues have been reduced.

What services does CCS provide?

In 2013 CCS effectively provided programs and services throughout Southeast Alaska to over 2,700 community members and their families.

In Juneau and in 14 other communities outside of Juneau, Southeast Senior Services, a CCS program, promotes the health, quality of life and independence of seniors in Southeast Alaska through the delivery of essential services and the development of community resources. Services include a transportation fleet (called Care-A-Vans in most communities) that provided 91,881 door-to-door rides to 1,372 Southeast Alaskans last year. SESS also operates 14 senior centers throughout Southeast Alaska that served over 115,000 hot, nutritious meals last year. More than half of those meals were delivered to the homes of 655 elderly individuals who would otherwise have gone without meals and the human contact that accompanies them. Finally, SESS operates Care Coordination programs in a number of communities, and in Juneau the Bridge Adult Day Facility, Senior Information and Care Giver Resource Center.

The Child Care and Family Resource Division provides and advocates for services that keep children safe as well as services that enhance the health, harmony and self-sufficiency of families throughout the region. Child Care and Family Resource programs include Treatment Foster Care, Behavioral Health (counseling and rehabilitation services to children and families), a Young Parent Healthy Teen Center (a drop in center for youth and young parents), Child Care Assistance (financial assistance to parents with children in day care), the Child Advocacy Center (forensic investigation of child and sexual abuse), and three intensive family support programs.

Finally, the CCS Hospice & Home Care of Juneau provides home healthcare and end-of-life services to patients in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of their own home. This valuable and unique program provides an essential quality of living during this sensitive period of transition.

How is CCS meeting the crisis?

To meet this budgetary crisis, CCS has set out on a fund raising effort to raise $500,000. To begin the campaign, CCS is very fortunate that the Benito & Frances C. Gaguine Foundation has generously offered to match all donations made during the campaign up to $75,000. Donations to CCS, then, will go twice as far with a dollar for dollar match from the foundation up to a total of $150,000.

CCS is appealing to all citizens of Southeast Alaska to help meet its fund raising goals. One way to look at this is, “If you or your family have not already benefitted from services provided by CCS, the chances are very high that you will in time.”

CCS and the Diocese of Juneau

CCS was founded in 1973 under the leadership of then Bishop Francis Hurley. Until the change in CCS Bylaws (this past March 14, 2014), the diocesan Bishop served as president of the Board of Directors. The Diocese of Juneau currently subsidizes CCS for more than $140,000 per year.

As stated in CCS Bylaws, “The mission of CCS is to serve the people and families of Southeast Alaska with dignity, care, and compassion. This mission is rooted in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church which deems mercy to the poor and sick, charitable works and works of mutual aid for the alleviation of all kinds of human need as an essential expression of the faith. CCS shall conduct its affairs in the spirit and in accord with all teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Code of Ethics promoted by Catholic Charities USA…”

Bishop Edward J. Burns shares, “CCS is the social service agency under the umbrella of the Diocese of Juneau. As a Catholic agency it reaches out to those in need, those less fortunate, those with few resources, and those who are sick and dying. I ask every parishioner in the diocese to consider a healthy donation to such a worthy cause.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP –

Donations can be sent to:
Match the Gaguine Foundation’
Catholic Community Service

419 Sixth St.
Juneau, AK  99801

Make online donations at: www.ccsjuneau.org