IBM Helps Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis Serve Those in Need

CommunityCard Program Better Secures Homeless Shelters, Resulting in 30 Percent Fewer Client Incidents; Nonprofit Delivers Innovative Services on a Shoestring Budget Based on IBM System i

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ARMONK, NY - 15 Jun 2006: IBM today announced that its technology supports the nonprofit organization Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis's social services -- including a unique CommunityCard program that helps tens of thousands of homeless people maintain their identity while giving them a sense of home.

Catholic Charities is one of the Twin Cities' largest private providers of social services, helping men, women and children in crisis. In 2005, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis served 1.1 million meals to the hungry and its 14 housing programs made more than 1,000 beds available to the homeless every night.

"IBM technology powers the majority of Catholic Charities programs, including the CommunityCard program. We started this innovative program because very few homeless people have a form of ID," said Jim Storms, IT Director for Catholic Charities. "When they become homeless, their original identity cards are often lost or stolen, making it difficult for them to access services, get jobs and get off the street. By re-establishing their identity, Catholic Charities is working to build a community among its guests to create for them a sense of belonging."

When visitors arrive at one of Catholic Charities' shelters, they receive a photo ID card that logs such essential data as health information, emergency contacts, recent employment, disabilities and previous experiences at the center. That information is managed by the highly secure IBM System i, which has built-in hardware, software, database and storage to house thousands of IDs as well as other critical programs for the nonprofit.

The card helps the homeless to maintain their identity while providing safer, quicker access to services. For example, the CommunityCard has helped people locate lost family members and deters predators who are unwilling to share their information or picture from visiting the shelters. As a result, Catholic Charities has seen client incidents in shelters drop by an estimated 30 percent since enacting its CommunityCard program, making them a safer and more inviting option for the homeless.

Catholic Charities selected IBM System i to support this and other programs because it is easy to use and provides the nonprofit both a tangible return on investment and the flexibility to add new programs and functions as community needs change. Using System i has saved Catholic Charities $30,000 on IT costs while keeping its IT staff to a minimum.

The organization runs its intranet and mail on Lotus Domino and Quickplace applications on System i, using virtualization to run multiple partitions of each application and reducing the number of software licenses the organization requires. Next, the organization plans to consolidate two of the servers it currently runs at remote sites onto a single System i 520, which will further reduce its IT costs by $10,000 for a total savings that is 3 percent of Catholic Charities' IT budget. This is significant for the non-profit as it looks for ways to trim costs in the face of severely constricted funding.

"Catholic Charities is a perfect example of a customer that is taking back control of its IT infrastructure by selecting the integrated, simple System i solution," said Mark Shearer, general manager of IBM System i. "Catholic Charities chose System i because it doesn't have a lot of money and resources to work with, so it does a lot with what it has. Instead of battling computer viruses and systems problems, the IT department can focus on supporting services that help the community."

Besides its CommunityCard program, the organization relies on the System i to support a number of social services programs, including:

-- St. Joseph's Home for Children -- shelter, treatment and support for nearly 2,000 children and youth in crisis each year. -- Northside Child Development Center -- early education and school readiness to families in North Minneapolis. -- The Evergreen Residence in Minneapolis -- 88 apartment-style housing units to help single men and woman become self-sufficient while establishing rental history. -- Branch III -- employment and skills development, including a Job Seekers workshop with a success rate of 75 to 80 percent. -- Seton Services -- prenatal care, parenting education and support, and adoption services.

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