Borough Park

Met Council receives grant to help Holocaust survivors

March 7, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Alan Schoor, CEO of the Met Council, says the federal grant will enable social workers to provide customized services to each Holocaust survivor. Photo courtesy of Met Council

There are 32,914 Holocaust survivors currently living in Brooklyn, according to officials at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, who said the agency is now in a good position to help the survivors of Nazi oppression live out their golden years in dignity.

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a nonprofit agency also known as the Met Council, has received a grant from the Jewish Federations of North America through the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care.

The Jewish Federations of North America launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in the fall of 2015, following an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which bestowed $12 million to be used by organizations around the country to come up with innovative programs to serve Holocaust survivors.

The grant marks the first time in history that the U.S. government has provided direct funding for services for Holocaust survivors, Met Council officials said. The grant, combined with matching private funds, will enable the Met Council to provide $442,666 in new programming for survivors.

In New York metropolitan area, there are 56,000 Holocaust survivors, Met Council officials said.

Sadly, more than half of the survivors are living at or below the poverty line.   

“Support from the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care will enable our social workers to provide customized care for survivors whom have been traumatized through their experiences during the Holocaust,” Met Council CEO Alan Schoor said in a statement. “To compound their situation further, most of our clients live in poverty or near-poverty, resulting in additional trauma caused by the lack of financial resources. Having been traumatized early in life and now re-traumatized as a result of their financial insecurity later in life, our clients’ historical trauma continues to resurface.”

Among other things, the grant will allow the Met Council to provide additional case management services and monthly socialization programs for elderly Holocaust survivors.

Social workers will be providing trauma-informed care and will connect clients to available Met Council services, including assistance with enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), free home repairs and access to kosher food pantries, according to Met Council spokesperson Rena Resnick.

In addition, monthly social programs will be put in place to decrease isolation and allow Holocaust survivors to meet other survivors and receive a free kosher meal along with cultural programming designed to lift their spirits.

Another major focus will be providing appropriate transportation for aging and less-mobile survivors, Resnick told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“We expect to ramp up the program immediately and services to start in about a month,” Resnick said.

The Met Council will be working with the Borough Park Jewish Community Council (JCC), the Canarsie JCC and the Shorefront JCC in Brooklyn, as well as Jewish community councils on the Lower East Side, Washington Heights and Queens to serve low-income Holocaust survivors.

“Taking care of Holocaust survivors, ensuring that they have their physical and emotional needs met, is of the utmost importance and a fully attainable goal if we continue to work together,” said Mark Wilf, chairman of Jewish Federations’ National Holocaust Survivor Initiative.