Catholic Charities Residential Services was just a fledgling agency when Paul Pickering took the helm in 1982. The agency, which is now called Catholic Charities Community Services, operated two residences for people with developmental disabilities, and its staff of 18 served 23 clients on an annual budget of $250,000, Pickering told the Catholic Courier.
Now, the agency’s staff numbers between 220 and 225, and its most recent operating budget was $8.3 million, he said.
"Today we have 11 residences. We serve about 300 individuals that are developmentally disabled, and their families," Pickering added. "We’ve had significant growth in 30 years, and I think that’s been a result of good leadership on our board. It’s been a result of responding to needs."
In 1990 the agency expanded its offerings and began reaching out to people living with HIV and AIDS. The agency’s AIDS Services Department began as case-management and support services for HIV-positive women and their children. Today, AIDS Services offers case management, short-term emergency assistance, a subsidized housing program and a summer camp for children whose lives are affected by HIV and AIDS.
"We started with about four individuals and we currently have 240 individuals and families that we support," Pickering said.
In 1997 Catholic Charities Community Services added its Traumatic Brain Injury Department, and this program offers service coordination, independent-living skills training, home and community support, intensive behavioral programming and community integration counseling.
Catholic Charities Community Services is one of Catholic Charities’ specialty agencies, so its offerings are not limited to residents of one or two specific counties. Instead, the agency can help anyone, Catholic or not, who lives within the 12-county Diocese of Rochester, Pickering noted.