Amendment to Anti-poverty Act to Aid Jewish Poor Outside Designated Areas: $50m Earmarked for Aid

James Scheuer (D.N.Y.) told leaders of the American Jewish Congress today that his amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act passed last Thursday by the House would “measurably increase the ability of the Jewish poor to benefit from anti-poverty programs.”

Scheuer’s amendment to the EOA, approved by the House as part of a $5.4 billion anti-poverty bill, earmarks $50 million for low-income groups living outside of designated poverty areas, “with particular emphasis on the needs of the elderly.” The amendment embodies a number of changes in the Federal anti-poverty program and its local implementation called for by the AJ Congress last November.

In a report, the Congress’ Commission on Urban Affairs charged that the Jewish poor were, in effect, barred from benefits under the anti-poverty program. The Jewish group called for a series of major revisions in the EOA to end the “unjust treatment” of needy Jews. In his address to a meeting of the Congress’ national Governing Council, Scheuer said his amendment to the EOA was designed to remedy the exclusion of most Jewish elderly poor from benefits under the anti-poverty program in New York because they lived outside the designated poverty areas.

CRITERION SHOULD BE NEED, NOT RESIDENCE

Poverty must be treated on the basis of need, not residence,” Scheuer asserted. He noted that 250,000 Jews in New York had annual incomes of less than $3,000. “Jewish senior citizens over 60 account for nearly two-thirds of the Jewish poor, most of whom live outside designated poverty areas and therefore do not qualify for benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled,” he said.

The amendment provides that the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Phillip Sanchez, “may contract or provide financial assistance for projects conducted by public or private agencies which are designed to serve groups of low income individuals who are not being effectively served by other programs under this title (Title II).”

The $50 million is authorized for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1972, Scheuer reported. He said the sum would be earmarked for new programs to be designed by community action agencies or groups, which will apply to the OEO for the funds needed to implement them. The OEO, he explained, would have authority to approve the project if it met the needs of persons not being aided by other OEO programs. Special consideration, he said, would be given to the elderly poor.

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