Selfhelp Community Services applauds the unanimous passage of a Congressional resolution to support programs that meet the distinct needs of aging Holocaust survivors.
“We are very proud to have worked with Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and UJA-Federation of New York on this important resolution which calls attention to the tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors who need support to age in place,” stated Selfhelp’s CEO Stuart C. Kaplan.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) introduced the resolution (H. Con. Res. 323), which gained 105 bipartisan cosponsors. "Holocaust survivors embraced the American dream and have greatly enriched our country," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "As this special community ages, we have a moral obligation to ensure their dignity by empowering them to live out their lives in peace and safety. I am pleased that my colleagues in the House of Representatives overwhelmingly expressed their support today for this important goal."
Of the approximately 127,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States today, three-quarters are over the age of 75 and about two-thirds live alone. Many of these survivors struggle to afford basic needs, such as adequate food and healthcare; more than half of them fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, meaning they earn less than $21,660 annually. As they age, these victims of Nazi terror and torture risk being placed in institutionalized care. For many seniors institutional care is an excellent option, but for these survivors, institutional care could raise painful memories.
In press releases issued by the JFNA and UJA-Federation of New York, and in today’s Huffington Post, Stuart C. Kaplan is quoted as saying, "Although the number of Holocaust survivors is decreasing, the needs of this last generation are growing in scope and intensity due to advanced age and frailty. Compounding the problem is the fact that atrocities during the Holocaust have caused so many to survive alone – with no other family members.”
The resolution urges the Administration and Department of Health and Human Services to provide survivors with much-needed social services through existing programs. It also highlights the ongoing work of agencies and nonprofits that work in conjunction with Jewish Federations to honor and assist Holocaust survivors.
“It is up to organizations such as Selfhelp to step up and serve as the last surviving relative for any survivor in need of care. This is our pledge,” added Stuart C. Kaplan.
To view the Congressional Resolution in its entirety, click here.