With around 80,000 Holocaust survivors in the U.S., two South Florida congresswomen are calling on giving them more access to specialized care and services.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., showcased the “Trauma-Informed Modernization of Eldercare (TIME) for Holocaust Survivors Act” which she brought out last week.
The bill “designates survivors as a group with a significant social need within the Older Americans Act, and creates a portfolio within the Administration on Community Living to take responsibility for Holocaust-related issues” and “promotes technical assistance and training for nonprofits that serve older adults still experiencing the long-term consequences of this historic trauma.” The legislation would also amend the Older Americans Act to “meet the special dietary needs of Holocaust survivors and others.”
After introducing the proposal on Thursday, Wasserman Schultz highlighted the bill this week.
“Holocaust survivors have endured the worst of human atrocities and deserve special care for the duration of their remaining years,” said Wasserman Schultz. “My district has among the largest populations of survivors in the country. The trauma and grief that these survivors endured is unimaginable. The TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act can tend to that unique pain in this closing chapter of their lives, and allow them to live out their remaining years with dignity.”
“The survivors of the Holocaust are a living testament to the indomitability of the human spirit,” said U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., who cosponsored the bill. “We have a duty to ensure that those who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust are cared for in their old age. This bill would bring us closer to making sure that the specific needs of these survivors are fully met.”
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, is one of nine Republicans who cosponsored the bill.
“As victims of the very worst of humanity, Holocaust survivors deserve devoted care and support to address the horrific trauma they experienced,” said Stefanik. “Many of these survivors call the state of New York home and depend on the full embrace of our communities for comfort in their elder years. This bipartisan legislation will ensure we are able to care for the specific needs of the many Holocaust survivors living across the United States.”
Backers from Florida include Democrat U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson.
More than 300 nonprofits from every state in the nation have thrown their support behind the bill.
“It is our duty to honor and assist Holocaust Survivors who experience unique trauma and health concerns directly related to their experience during the Shoah,” said William Daroff, the senior vp for public policy of the Jewish Federations of North America. “We applaud Representative Wasserman-Schultz for her leadership in introducing this bipartisan bill that will demonstrably improve the lives of Holocaust Survivors across the nation.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. Education and Labor Committee last week. So far, there is no version of the bill over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.