Nearly $5.5 million has been allocated to Holocaust survivors and older adults dealing with trauma, courtesy of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma.

The announcement comes ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday.

“Caring for our survivors is not only a privilege but a duty, and is a core value and deep commitment of our Jewish Federations,” said Jewish Federations of North America board chair Julie Platt. “It is thanks to the generosity of so many in our communities, together with our government partners, that we are able to provide our survivors with these critical services to help them live in comfort and dignity.”

The grants will assist dozens of agencies—Jewish and non-Jewish—that deliver social services to tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors along with older adults with a history of trauma, and the caregivers that help them. The grant amount totals $5.4 million over two years. 

Approximately one-third of the Holocaust survivors in the U.S. are estimated to be living in poverty, subject to increased risk of depression and social isolation, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Holocaust survivors are our teachers and our heroes,” said Shelley Rood Wernick, granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and managing director of the Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma. “Widespread trauma means we need a better approach to care, and with these grants, Jewish Federations are revolutionizing aging services.”

This year’s grant recipients include the Jewish Federations of Broward County, Greater Atlanta, Metropolitan Detroit, Greater Los Angeles and Greater MetroWest NJ, along with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, UJA-Federation of New York and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies.

Jewish Federations launched its Holocaust Survivor Care initiative in 2015. Since its inception, Jewish Federations has provided for approximately 35,000 Holocaust survivors, 16,000 professional caregivers, 6,000 family caregivers and 5,000 older adults with a history of trauma. 

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, and from philanthropists. Last year, the U.S. federal government budgeted a record $8.5 million for its Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program.

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