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Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service Restructures Holocaust Survivor Care to Meet Growing Needs

“Over the last several years, we’ve seen an explosion in the needs of Holocaust survivors in South Palm Beach County,” says Danielle Hartman, Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service President & CEO. “While we’ve received significant funding for these services from the Claims Conference, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, the State of Florida and private donors, we are still unable to meet the needs of the continually growing number of survivors seeking our help. We currently have 270 clients, way up from the 200 we served two years ago.”

Hartman explains that the agency, which serves the Greater Boca Raton, Greater Delray Beach and Highland Beach areas, has both a large number of new applicants as well as increasing needs among their existing clients. “Our community is home to a growing number of very elderly survivors who are becoming frailer as they outlive their resources. Some who spent part of the year elsewhere no longer have the resources or stamina to travel back and forth and now need year-round care here. Most survivors need new or increased help to remain aging safely in their homes.”

JFS services for Holocaust survivors include personal care, case management, housekeeping, respite care, transportation and emergency financial assistance. This help allows survivors to remain in their homes as long as possible which is essential, according to Laurie Intondi, Director of Senior Services, who shares “We know from experience and research that institutional settings bring back the traumas the survivors experienced during the Holocaust. Therefore it is vital to their well-being and dignity to help them stay in their homes.”

To cope with the growing shortfall, JFS has been trying to raise additional dollars and use all available funds as efficiently as possible. The agency wants to avoid starting a waiting list for services and at the same time increase services for local survivors who qualify for and need 25 hours of homecare per week but are currently receiving less than that.

After consulting with the Claims Conference and with other Jewish Family Service agencies around the country, JFS has determined that it needs to revise how it allocates its limited resources amid the rapidly growing changes facing the community. As a result, the agency has determined that a needs-based model, including a more detailed review of financial ability to pay than has been conducted in the past, is the fairest way to allocate available funds.

In order to help survivors with the greatest needs, those living at the federal poverty level will continue to receive services free of charge. The new model will require co-pays from survivors with income above the federal poverty guidelines.

“We are hoping that these program changes will better position JFS to continue to provide care to any Holocaust survivor who comes to the agency and to enable us to provide more care to those who need it most and are least able to pay for it themselves,” says Hartman. “The compassion and generosity of many in our community remains vital. We hope that members of the community reading about this opportunity and have the means to help will contact JFS at info@ruthralesjfs.org or 561-852-3333.”

A non-profit, non-sectarian agency, Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service of South Palm Beach County has been committed to enhancing and improving the quality of life for all members of the community since 1979. JFS offers help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals. For more information, visit www.ruthralesjfs.org, phone (561) 852-3333 or email info@ruthralesjfs.org.
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