The Claims Conference funds more than 100 Jewish organizations, primarily Jewish Family and Children’s Service agencies, in more than 20 U.S. states and in Canada, to provide social welfare services for Holocaust victims. More than four in five U.S. victims reside in just five states: New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois. In Canada, most Holocaust victims live in or near Toronto and Montreal, with programs also offered in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Winnipeg.
The global financial crisis has adversely affected social service delivery to Holocaust victims living in North America. While Claims Conference funding has held steady, and in most instances has increased, a number of other factors have contributed to a general retrenchment of services to Holocaust victims. They include decreased contributions to Jewish organizations and other philanthropic bodies, decline in net worth of many Jewish federation endowment funds, and cutbacks in federal, state, and municipal programs that have benefited Holocaust victims in the past including homecare services, dental care, and food assistance programs.
The Claims Conference focuses on using a “Continuum of Care” model, in which it works with local agencies to create and sustain services that take into account the particular conditions and needs of Holocaust victims in their communities, including the availability of public funding for home- and community-based services. Continuum of Care includes case management, homecare, medical expenses, dental care, food programs, psychological services, emergency financial assistance, transportation, and socialization programs.
Involvement by local Holocaust victims is an integral part of these programs. The Claims Conference requires each agency to form a local Holocaust Survivor Advisory Committee, which helps determine local needs and identify those in need of assistance.