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Legislation enhancing Holocaust survivors’ care introduced

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan slate of congressional lawmakers  introduced a bill that would facilitate assistance for Holocaust survivors.

The legislation introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House by Representatives and the U.S. Senate would add survivors to a priority list for social services outlined in the Older Americans Act.

It would name a staffer to oversee the provision of such services, which would include kosher meals and improved transportation.

“An estimated 120,000 Holocaust survivors live in the United States today, at an average age of 80; 3 in 5 survivors are women; and approximately two- thirds of Holocaust survivors live alone,” said a statement from the offices of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.),  who introduced the measure and have been advocating for such legislation since 2010.

Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced the bill in the U.S. Senate.

The Jewish Federations of North America, which worked with the lawmakers to advance the bill, said the bill would help survivors remain in their communities.

“Enabling Holocaust survivors to age in place is vital for health, comfort and security, and brings dignity to this vulnerable population,” said William Daroff, the director of JFNA’s Washington office.

Also sponsoring the bill in the House are Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.); and in the Senate, Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

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