On Monday, Rep. Jason Fischer filed HB 4803, an appropriations request designed to help Northeast Florida Holocaust survivors.
Sen. Aaron Bean will carry the Senate version; the filing of his bill is pending.
The bill would appropriate $325,000 via the Department of Elder Affairs to Jewish Family & Community Services, which operates in Duval, Flagler, and St. Johns Counties.
The state money would be matching funds for over $800,000 in grants from local and other sources.
The goal: to ensure that these Survivors of the Nazi genocide before and during World War II will be able to live independently, outside of institutions.
To that end, a multi-pronged approach to meeting their spiritual and material needs is outlined here, in hopes that state funding will be provided.
The money would fund, according to the appropriations request, “culturally-sensitive, individualized support services to approximately 100 aging Holocaust Survivors in Duval, St. Johns and Flagler Counties.”
“Services (financial assistance, medication assistance, care management and relaxation exercises) will help meet the basic needs of aging Holocaust Survivors living in poverty, improve their physical and mental health and wellness, thereby helping them maintain their ability to live independently and avoid premature institutionalization,” the request continues.
The bulk of the allocation ($190,180) would go to emergency support services for Survivors. Three full-time case managers would also be hired, a cost of just over $108,000.
One of these case managers will speak Russian.
Support letters have been provided by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. and the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida. However, there is no lobbyist currently engaged for this legislation.
The legislation is part of a tranche of a half-dozen bills already filed for Holocaust memorialization and education around the state.
Fischer and Bean expressed their thoughts in a media release issued Tuesday morning.
“Touring the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel recently was an overwhelming and emotional experience that powerfully reminds us of the terrible atrocities millions of Jewish people suffered during the Holocaust,” said Fischer.
Fischer recently made a trip to Israel.
“With over 100 Holocaust Survivors living in Northeast Florida, we need to show them our support and let them know their sacrifices haven’t been forgotten. Many of these survivors today struggle to pay their bills or receive health services, often times because of the trauma they experienced decades ago. I am proud to sponsor legislation that helps Holocaust Survivors in Northeast Florida, and I will fight to ensure they get the help they deserve,” Fischer added.
“We cannot forget the lessons of history and the people who lived through those dark days,” said Sen. Bean. “This is an opportunity to assure that the Holocaust Survivors that reside in Northeast Florida are not forgotten. The hope is that with this funding request, the 100 individuals in our community are provided the wrap-around services that they require.”