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GHI Receives Funds for Holocaust Survivor Care as COVID-19 Pandemic Necessitates Extra Help

Generations Housing Initiatives (GHI) is proud to announce it has received a grant from The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Center on Aging and Trauma, a project of the Holocaust Survivor Initiative. When combined with matching funds, this award will enable $28,408.70 in new programming for Holocaust survivors over the next year. Programming is particularly needed to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, GHI will be increasing the number of team members who receive intensive training on Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) care, as a result of this new funding.

The grant will allow GHI to provide one-on-one counseling, health, and wellness activities to Holocaust survivors residing at Kenmore Plaza and The Pines of Edgewater. All activities and counseling are done through a Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) approach, that provides a unique way of providing services to a person who has experienced complex trauma, works through their strengths, and respects their voice and choice.

“We serve almost two hundred Holocaust survivors, who reside across our two properties,” said Cristina Vera-Hunt, Executive director of Generations Housing Initiatives. "We are pleased to have been chosen by JFNA to provide additional support to Holocaust survivors and enhance our team's understanding of the importance of providing services through a PCTI lens.”

“Holocaust survivors are our teachers and our heroes,” said Mark Wilf, chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees and past chair of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative. “With inspiring strength and conviction, they teach us about the past. Now, they are teaching us how to better serve all older adults who have survived trauma. We are honored to partner with the federal government to lead this initiative and call on all communities to come together to support Holocaust survivors in need."

This grant is part of The Jewish Federations of North America’s partnership with the Federal government to improve lives for Holocaust survivors. Recognizing the value of the person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) approach, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living has awarded a new grant of $5 million to JFNA’s Center on Aging and Trauma to serve Holocaust survivors, other older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers. Funds from private philanthropists complement the federal grant.

Reports suggest that one out of three Holocaust survivors in the U.S. lives in poverty, and as many as 90% of older adults in the U.S. have a history of trauma, which can be caused by events such as war, violence, accidents, domestic or sexual abuse, or discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the challenges experienced by Holocaust survivors and other older populations. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions.

PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength, and empowerment of all individuals by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims' lives into agency programs, policies, and procedures. Spearheaded by JFNA, this approach acknowledges that survivors of trauma have distinct and extraordinary needs, and that service delivery must include an understanding of these needs to avoid re-traumatization.

As part of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative, the Center on Aging and Trauma promotes excellence in service delivery together with the expertise of partner organizations including the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. In addition to providing sub-grants for local services, the Center on Aging and Trauma offers robust technical consultations on the development and implementation of PCTI programming, as well as trainings open to all aging service providers to catalyze a nationwide culture-shift toward PCTI care. The grant relies upon annual Congressional appropriations and private philanthropic contributions. JFNA is proud of the bipartisan Congressional support for this program championed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH).

This program is made possible by federal funds from a grant through The JFNA Center on Aging and Trauma. Approximately $21,306.50, comes from federal sources. Approximately $7,102.20 comes from non-federal sources.


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