Two regional Catholic Charities agencies have become a single entity, with a focus on bringing a wider range of services to a broader community.
Catholic Charities of Steuben/Livingston was officially launched Oct. 1, blending Catholic Charities operations in Steuben and Livingston counties. According to Tabitha Brewster, chief executive officer of the newly combined agency, the integration involves the melding of staffs, finances, boards of directors, programs and services.
Brewster noted that a proposal to blend the two agencies was approved by the diocesan Catholic Charities board of directors in mid-September, following approval by both the Steuben and Livingston boards. Brewster added that the merger has been in the works since she became Steuben’s chief executive officer in September 2019 — a role that she’s held concurrently with CEO duties at Livingston Catholic Charities, which she has led since 2011.
Brewster said that as a combined entity, Catholic Charities of Steuben/Livingston can maximize its ongoing efforts in such areas as providing services to families and individuals, reducing food insecurity, working to reduce poverty and advocating for social justice. For example, Brewster explained, a Catholic Charities emergency-housing initiative that previously only existed in Livingston County can now be expanded to include Steuben as well; and Steuben Catholic Charities’ addiction treatment and prevention programs can now be shared with those in need in Livingston County.
Also as a part of expanding its reach, Brewster said that Catholic Charities of Steuben/Livingston will continue to prioritize mobile services. Catholic Charities currently operates a mobile-service van in Livingston County and one in Steuben; the vans help the agency maintain a vital presence in the “very rural communities where services are scarce,” Brewster said.
Brewster said that whereas staff and services from both counties are being integrated in order to form Catholic Charities of Steuben/Livingston, nobody will lose employment.
“We want to make this (operation) bigger and we want to make this better,” she stated, adding that Catholic Charities of Steuben/Livingston is equipped to serve “well over 30,000 people in any given year.”
Brewster said that at the current time, Catholic Charities will maintain its office locations in Steuben County at 23 Liberty St., Bath; and in Livingston County at 34 E. State St., Mount Morris. Eventually, she noted, the newly formed agency will likely have a single main office in the Hornell area due to it central location for the two counties.