WASHINGTON (JTA) — A new provision in the bill funding assistance for the elderly directs the federal government to issue guidance to states on serving Holocaust survivors.
The Jewish Federations of North America lobbied for the inclusion of the provision in the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, which was first approved in 1965.
In a statement on April 7, the day the Senate reauthorized the act after the U.S. House of Representatives had already done so, the JFNA praised Congress for the vote and for including the Holocaust survivor provision.
“With more than 1 in 5 Jewish Americans over 65 years old, Federations have been a steadfast supporter of the OAA, which helps enhance vital services at Federation-affiliated agencies,” said William Daroff, the director of JFNA’s Washington office, in the statement.
Federations draw on funding provided through the act for day care and transportation for the elderly and kosher meals on wheels, among other services.
“We are also thrilled about the new provision that will ensure the comfort and security of Holocaust survivors, and look forward to working on its implementation with the Administration for Community Living,” Daroff said.
The act directs the assistant secretary for the aging "to issue guidance to states on serving and conducting outreach to this vulnerable population," the JFNA said.
Last month, the JFNA distributed the first funds to assist Holocaust survivors made available under a separate federal government program.
Of more than 100,000 survivors in the United States, the JFNA estimates that one in four is 85 or older and that the same number live in poverty.