You can help advance publicly-supported social services for Holocaust survivors by asking your Senators to prioritize Holocaust survivors and include the provisions of the Trauma-Informed Modernization of Eldercare (“TIME”) for Holocaust Survivors Act in their reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.
The House Education and Labor Committee has marked up its Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization bill. By the time this legislation was amended and approved, the final bill included four provisions that were derived from the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act (S. 2179/H.R. 4077). The very first provision of the Dignity in Aging Act (the House OAA reauthorization) included “person-centered, trauma-informed care” as a new objective of the OAA. The bill also authorizes a technical assistance center that would focus on the long-term and adverse consequences of trauma; references “culturally-appropriate meals,” (“including needs based on religious, cultural, or ethnic requirements;” and for the first time, actually specifically incorporates “survivors of the Holocaust” in the OAA. The bill (and each of these amendments) were unanimously approved in Committee, so it is anticipated it will pass the House soon and by an overwhelming margin.
This is a great start, but there are many future steps before any of this is enacted into law (full passage in the House, drafting an OAA bill in the Senate, passage of any bill in the Senate, and then joining the two bills together). It would be helpful if provisions from the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act were also inserted into the Senate Health, Educations, Labor and Pensions Committee’s OAA reauthorization process.
Senator Bob Casey has co-sponsored the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act (S. 2179). You can reach out to him and strongly encourage him to help further advance this bill by having him contact his party’s leadership on the Senate HELP Committee (Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)) and request that these provisions be included in the Older Americans Act. Co-sponsoring the bill is not enough! Inclusion in the OAA is the only way to move ahead with this issue.
Thank you for cosponsoring the Trauma Informed Modernization of Eldercare (“TIME”) for Holocaust Survivors Act or S. 2179, important, bipartisan legislation that was recently introduced and now has 25 Senate cosponsors. In addition to cosponsoring, I would really appreciate if you would reach out to the Senate HELP Committee and encourage the Committee to incorporate the provisions of the Holocaust survivor legislation into the Older Americans Act Reauthorization. The Committee is expected to mark-up the reauthorization bill in the next few weeks, so to be effective your outreach would need to take place soon.
Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered an estimated 6,000,000 European Jews, as well as millions of other minorities. These victims were targeted because of their religious beliefs, national origin, disability, or other status. Millions more were displaced from their homes and many spent years as refugees before resettling in the United States. Most have died, but about 80,000 Holocaust survivors live on in this country—all of them at least 74 years old and many well into their 80s or 90s. Today, one-third of Holocaust survivors in the United States are living in poverty. Many survivors face significant physical and mental health challenges, and experience triggers from daily events.
As you know, the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act would amend the Older Americans Acts to help survivors obtain necessary care; designate a new Administration for Community Living portfolio to focus on Holocaust survivors; and provide nutrition and mobility support for survivors. The legislation also establishes a national resource center to share best practices, transfer knowledge to the broader aging services network, and promote person-centered trauma-informed care for all older adults experiencing the long-term and adverse consequences of trauma.
As Holocaust survivors age and enter their final years, we must provide them with the highest quality of care possible. Incorporating the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act into the Older Americans Act would ensure that necessary social services are shared with Holocaust survivors, allowing them to retain a sense of dignity and strength despite their age, economic, or health status. On September 18, 2019, the House Education and Labor Committee did incorporate many of the provisions of H.R. 4077 (its version of the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act) into its Older Americans Act reauthorization bill, unanimously approving many of these provisions by amendment and then also approving the entire bill unanimously. More than 1,400 Holocaust survivors from 36 states and 350 organizations representing every state in the country support this initiative. Please reach out to the HELP Committee and encourage the Committee to include the TIME for Holocaust Survivors’ provisions in the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.