(JTA) – One-third of Holocaust survivors in the United States continue to live at or below the poverty line, according to an aid organization.
The Blue Card, which provides financial assistance to survivors, reported the statistic ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday. Last year, the same proportion of survivors were at or below the poverty line, according to CNN. Blue Card said it sees requests for aid grow 20 percent annually. Three quarters of the approximately 3,000 survivors the group aids are older than 75. “For those senior citizens that survived the atrocities of the Holocaust, many are struggling to make ends meet in the face of a growing number of medical issues, the rising cost of living and challenges navigating the health system,” said Blue Card Executive Director Masha Pearl. “The time to help is now.”
Separately, the Jewish Federations of North America announced $2.8 million in grants to 30 organizations that provide “person-centered, trauma-informed” supportive services to Holocaust survivors in the United States. JFNA, through its Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, will distribute $2.2 million to 21 organizations for new projects and an additional $662,500 to last year’s awardees to sustain ongoing programs. Combined with matching funds required by the grant, the funding for Holocaust survivor services will total $4 million.
JFNA launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in 2015, following an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living for up to $12 million over five years.