House resolution aims to help Holocaust survivors

(JTA) — The House of Representatives has introduced a resolution aimed at helping Holocaust survivors in the United States in need of in-home care.

U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) introduced a resolution Sept. 29  to raise awareness of the social service needs of Holocaust survivors — specifically the need for them to be able to age in place.

The resolution, which was referred to the House Education and Labor Committee, expresses congressional support for efforts that help Holocaust survivors in America continue to live at home and applauds nonprofit organizations such as The Jewish Federations of North America for their work honoring and assisting Holocaust survivors.

It also urges the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide Holocaust survivors with needed social services through existing programs, and to develop and implement programs that ensure Holocaust survivors are able to age in place in their communities and avoid institutionalization during their remaining years.

Of the approximately 127,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States, more than three quarters are older than 75 — a majority are in their 80s and 90s. Some two-thirds of the survivors in America are living alone, and many lack the financial resources for basic necessities such as proper housing and health care. 

Most Holocaust survivors fall beneath the federal poverty threshold that would place them at risk of institutionalization. Institutionalized settings are especially difficult for Holocaust survivors, research has shown, because such environments reintroduce the sights, sounds and routines reminiscent of their Holocaust experiences.

Wasserman Schultz said the United States has "a moral obligation to acknowledge the plight and uphold the dignity of Holocaust survivors to ensure their well-being in their remaining years."

 

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