JFCS receives funds for Holocaust survivor care

Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) has been selected to receive a substantial grant to care for the community’s aging Holocaust survivors.

The grant, which comes through Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, will total $42,708 in new programming for survivors when combined with matching funds.

JFNA launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in the fall of 2015, following an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over five years to advance innovations in Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) services for Holocaust Survivors in the United States.

PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength and empowerment of trauma victims by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims’ lives into agency programs, policies and procedures.

The services are the ones JFCS offers now, according to Family Services Director Mauri Malka, but providers will be trained in spotting and reacting to conditions in the lives of these survivors that can trigger trauma.

“For example, a person who experiences a loss right now” such as a benefit of program, “just that uncertainty could trigger all the trauma they felt during those uncertain times,” Malka said.

She said there are 70-75 survivors in Louisville, some of the Holocaust, but most from the Soviet era that immediately followed, who would qualify for assistance under PCTI.

“They were in labor camps or faced some persecution as a result of the Holocaust,” Malka said, “so they are also considered survivors.”

Nationwide, there are more than 100,000 Holocaust Survivors in the United States, nearly one quarter of whom are 85 or older, and one in four lives 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.

“These funds allow us to meet critical needs for our survivor population as they are aging, and it extends their ability to remain living in their own homes,” Malka said. “Survivors will access the direct services needed to support safety and independence by giving them choices that were financially unavailable without this funding.”

The Survivors Support Program is intended to preserve community living. It will provide direct services such as non-medical homecare – light housekeeping, personal care, companionship, transportation, errands, laundry, medication monitoring, assistance with medical appointments and meal preparation.

Additionally, the program will offer supportive services to family caregivers to assist them in long-term care planning and resource coordination.

“Meeting the needs of Holocaust Survivors is a critical mission, and we are excited to partner with the federal government for the second year of this project, which will help us improve the lives of this fragile community,” Mark Wilf, chair of the JFNA Fund for Holocaust Survivors, said in a prepared statement.

Survivors or their families can contact Malka at 322-1919 for more information about the program and to access services.

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