Assessing the Special Needs of America’s Holocaust Survivors

On January 15, 2013, Lee Sherman, President & CEO of the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies testified before the Special Committee on Aging of the United States Senate on the special needs of America’s Holocaust Survivors.

Today, 120,000 holocaust survivors are living in the United States, and the vast majority of them are in their 80s, and 90s. Sherman was able to testify on the special needs they face, and what we nee to do to help them.

Approximately 25% of Holocaust survivors—some 30,000 survivors—live at or below the
poverty line, and struggle to meet their basic needs for housing, food, health care, transportation,
and meaningful human interaction. Without immediate action on behalf of these survivors, we
risk losing them to the very things they should never have to face again – eviction, hunger,
inadequate medical care, loneliness, social isolation, and despair.

Sherman also highlighted a three-pronged approach to helping survivors that was offered by the White House:

• The appointment of a special envoy in the Department of Health and Human Services to
serve as a liaison to Holocaust survivors and the organizations that serve them.

• The commitment of the Corporation for National and Community Service to deploy
VISTA volunteers to help build the capacity of organizations serving Holocaust
survivors.

• The exploration of public-private partnership opportunities to increase the resources to
serve Holocaust survivors.

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