Older Americans Act Advances through Senate Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 28, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT:
Max Samis, Rabinowitz Communications, max@rabinowitz.com

Older Americans Act Advances through Senate Committee
Jewish Federations Applaud Inclusion of Guidance on Holocaust Survivor Services

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Washington, D.C. – Just one day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the American Jewish community was heartened by the inclusion of support for Holocaust survivors in the reauthorization of the bipartisan Older Americans Act, S. 192. The Jewish Federations of North America thanked senators on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) for quickly advancing the Older Americans Act as their first legislative priority in the 114th Congress.  The Jewish Federations supports swift passage of this legislation in the Senate.

“Each day, we are reminded of the importance of enabling Holocaust survivors and all older adults to live where they feel safe and welcome with the communities in which they have formed connections,” stated William Daroff, senior vice president of public policy and director of the Washington office for Jewish Federations. “We look forward to working with members of the Senate and House of Representatives to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which provides vital services to help vulnerable older adults age in place.”

“The negative effects of isolation can be devastating for Holocaust survivors facing financial challenges,” stated Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees. “Knowing that our Congressional leaders stand with the Jewish community in lifting up this vulnerable population is truly heartening. Our thanks go out to the bipartisan leadership of the Senate HELP Committee, along with Sen. Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Kirk (R-IL), and Sen. Mikulski (D-MD) for their help in including Holocaust survivors in the Older Americans Act.”

S. 192 reauthorizes the Older Americans Act of 1965. The law provides for delivery of nutrition and social services to older adults and their caregivers. This bill reauthorizes programs through 2018 and includes provisions to protect vulnerable elders by strengthening the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and existing elder abuse screening and prevention efforts. The bill promotes the delivery of evidence-based programs, such as falls prevention and chronic disease self-management programs. The reauthorization streamlines administration of programs, promotes the efficient use of transportation services, and improves coordination between programs at the federal, state, and local levels.

Section 10, “Guidance on Serving Holocaust Survivors,” reads that “Because the services under the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.) are critical to meeting the urgent needs of Holocaust survivors to age in place with dignity, comfort, security, and quality of life, the Assistant Secretary for Aging shall issue guidance to States, that shall be applicable to States, area agencies on aging, and providers of services for older individuals, with respect to serving Holocaust survivors, including guidance on promising practices for conducting outreach to that population. In developing the guidance, the Assistant Secretary for Aging shall consult with experts and organizations serving Holocaust survivors, and shall take into account the possibility that the needs of Holocaust survivors may differ based on geography.”

The Jewish Federations of North America, which works closely with the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies and the older adults and Holocaust survivors they serve, is dedicated to working with Congress, the White House, the Claims Conference and nonprofit organizations to ensure that Holocaust survivors and all older adults get the support they need to live in their communities with comfort and security. 

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The Jewish Federations, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).

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