WASHINGTON (JTA) – Vice President Joe Biden said the White House will work with the Jewish community to help Holocaust survivors living in poverty.
Speaking at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Centennial on Tuesday, Biden said the White House will appoint a special envoy at the Department of Health and Human Services to act as a liaison for survivors and the nonprofit community organizations that serve them.
A partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA program to increase the number of volunteers helping Holocaust survivors will be established, Biden said. Also, the White House will explore public-private partnerships to increase funding for organizations that work with Holocaust survivors.
“Today our country took a major step forward toward addressing the needs of many Holocaust survivors,” said Michael Siegal, chair of The Jewish Federations of North America board of trustees.
According to JFNA, there are about 120,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, of which about 25 percent live below the poverty line.
“As Jewish Federations continue to raise needed funds to support social service programs for Holocaust survivors, we will use the momentum from the vice president’s announcement to draw extra attention to this cause,” said Jerry Silverman, the president and CEO of Jewish Federations. “Enabling Holocaust survivors to age in place is vital for health, comfort and security, and brings dignity to this vulnerable population.”