JFNA Announces New Grants to Offer Critical Support for Holocaust Survivors and Additional Funding for Innovative Service Models

JFS has received a grant from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to develop a new federally-funded program aimed at aiding Holocaust survivors. The grant provides more than $80,000 to coordinate services, prevent emergencies and resolve crises among Holocaust survivors, thereby increasing the likelihood that survivors will live more comfortably in their homes and communities. The grant requires JFS to match 25 percent of the funding.

The announcement from JFNA includes the distribution of $4.6 million in grants to 43 direct service agencies and six federations. When combined with matching funds required by the grant, this funding will result in $6.7 million in programming for Holocaust survivor services. Since 2016, the JFNA Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care has awarded 78 grants to service agencies to provide Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed services to thousands of survivors in the U.S.

Of the more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, approximately one in three live in poverty. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression and other physical and mental health conditions stemming from periods of starvation, disease and torture. The Center spearheads the Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed approach which promotes the dignity, strength and empowerment of trauma survivors.

Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed training for staff will begin at JFS this summer. Trauma informed care is a person-centered response focused on improving an individual’s all around wellness. The response realizes the widespread impact of trauma on victims and understands potential paths for healing; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma; and responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into care. For example, JFS care managers may work with a Holocaust survivor client who is losing weight. Using knowledge of their trauma, the care manager may look for signs of hoarding food, a behavior that may have kept them or a loved one alive long ago.

JFS program leader Rena Federova is currently working with local Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors to form a committee to identify the types of aid to be provided by the new Vital Elders grant program.