Sending Office: Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Deadline: COB Friday, March 22
Please join us in sending the letter below to Chairman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole, requesting $5 million in FY 2020 for the Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program through the Administration for Community Living. This program will help ensure that Holocaust
survivors are able to live in dignity in their homes and communities, and foster the development of replicable models of care to serve other aging victims of trauma, such as veterans, first responders, and victims of domestic abuse.
Approximately 100,000 Holocaust survivors live in the United States today – with an estimated 30,000 living in poverty and with many over 85. After witnessing and surviving the darkest period of the last century and the resiliency of the human spirit, survivors
built a new life in the United States, raised families, and enriched our country.
As a group, Holocaust survivors are at increased risk of depression, social isolation, and extremely poor outcomes associated with nursing home admissions. Survivors learned long ago to fear and mistrust doctors, white coats, or uniforms because of their
terrifying experiences with Nazi soldiers and medical experiments. Unfamiliar showers are particularly traumatic to survivors of concentration camps because of the gas chambers disguised as showers. Even survivors who have adapted well their entire lives in
America may experience these triggers later in life, especially if compounded by dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, which was first created in the FY 2015 budget and continued through the FY 2019 budget, leverages public-private partnership opportunities with nonprofits, foundations, and the private sector to address the unique
needs of the survivor population. The program, administered through the Administration for Community Living, partners with The Jewish Federations of North America’s Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care. The Center is dedicated to expanding the capacity
of community-based agencies to provide direct services to Holocaust survivors in a person-centered, trauma-informed manner; and to developing and implementing a national technical assistance center devoted to expanding the aging services network’s capacity
to deliver person-centered, trauma-informed services.
Through this cost-effective Program, we can help to prevent the very things survivors should never have to face again – eviction, hunger, inadequate medical care, loneliness, social isolation, and despair. If you would like to cosign the letter, please
fill out this form.
If you have any questions, please contact Michael Viggiano with Representative Wasserman Schultz at Michael.Viggiano@mail.house.gov or Jessica Weltge with Representative Johnson (OH) at Jessica.Weltge@mail.house.gov
by COB Friday, March 22.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz Bill Johnson
Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:
As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill, we write to express our strong support for including $5 million in funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Fund at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This is a timely and necessary program that responds to an immediate bipartisan public policy priority, and uses public dollars to leverage private support as well. There are approximately 100,000 Holocaust Survivors living in the United States today – with
an estimated 30,000 living in poverty. After witnessing the darkest period of the last century and the resiliency of the human spirit, Survivors built a new life in the United States, raised families, and enriched our country. Many are age 85 or older. As
a group, Holocaust survivors are at increased risk of depression, social isolation, and extremely poor outcomes associated with institutionalization, which can be emotionally and physically devastating for survivors as a trigger of the traumas of forced institutionalizations
and relocations during the Holocaust.
The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program established a Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care (Center), which leverages public-private partnership opportunities with nonprofits, foundations, and the private sector to address the urgent needs of the
survivor population and the nonprofit organizations and family caregivers that support them. Thus far a total of 55 organizations in 21 states supporting more than 100 programs in 41 communities have been funded through the Center. Each community-based organization
(sub-grantee) is funded for two years. All sub-grantees are required to contribute matching resources equal to approximately 40% of the total program budget.
Since the program’s inaugural year (in FY 2015), person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) innovations have led to decreased loneliness and depression; reduced caregiver stress; increased feelings of safety, security, and social support; improved feelings
of independence and ability to age at home; and a better understanding of triggers and behaviors linked to trauma among professionals and families participating in PCTI trainings. In this time, the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care has advanced
innovations for the following populations:
- Holocaust Survivors. The program has infused trauma-informed approaches into all aspects of service delivery.
- Family Caregivers. The program has advanced innovative approaches to caregiver support to promote the health and well-being of family caregivers and reduce factors that lead to early institutionalization of Holocaust survivors.
- Providers. The program has increased the ability of professionals (including dentists, social workers, nurses, and law professionals), to provide PCTI care to Holocaust survivors.
- Aging Service Network at large. The program has increased the professional expertise of the Aging Services Network in replicable PCTI practices.
Understanding trauma can help providers better manage risk. As a matter of public health, new approaches need to be developed and implemented to reduce the impact of trauma on individuals and to build the capacity of providers to be informed and trained
in the practice of trauma-informed approaches. Advancing innovations, teaching best practices, increasing capacity, and improving service delivery within the Aging Services Network is a priority of Older Americans Act programs. Consistent with this mission,
the achievements of the Holocaust Survivor initiative can have a lasting impact on the country as the shift toward an increasingly older population endures. While we understand the fiscal constraints under which you are working, we urge you to prioritize this
cost-effective innovative initiative to support Holocaust survivors in FY 2020. We look forward to working together to ensure that Holocaust survivors are able to live in dignity, comfort, and security in their homes and communities for the remainder of their
lives and for the benefit of future generations of older adults.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0