Needs and Responses

Human Services (North America)

Needs

Personnel Issues

  • Protecting employees who are on the front lines, including providing sick pay if they need to be quarantined.
  • Meeting payroll
  • Anticipating potential layoffs
  • Many staff members are less efficient, because they are working from home with children 

Increased Demand for Services

  • Food insecurity is increasing among clients.
  • Clients concerned about paying rent, homelessness.
  • Many clients were already living on the edge before coronavirus hit.
  • As one human services nonprofit employee put it, “Social distancing is harder when you are poor, must go to work, don’t have internet at home and must rely on public transportation.” Another noted: “Many people are one crisis away from utter poverty.”
  • Many clients have complex additional needs, such as disabilities, health issues or substance abuse problems.

Difficulty Obtaining Needed Supplies/Materials

  • Food banks report difficulty getting items for clients that are in short supply everywhere. 
  • Nursing homes and others need supplies, including personal protective gear, and are having difficulty obtaining them because of scarce supply and inflated prices.

End-Of-Life Care, Including Funeral Preparation/Burial Services 

  • According to a document prepared by the David Berg Foundation funerals and burials are the most pressing immediate need as many COVID-19 patients are dying quickly. However, other aspects such as palliative care will also require support. Palliative care will be needed for those who do not recover quickly, have been on ventilators, and will need end of life support.
  • The Berg Foundation notes that “rules and norms in this area have had to be adjusted due to COVID-19 and there is need for
    protective gear. Many Chevra Kadisha [burial society] members are themselves elderly.”
  • Many families are challenged by a limited amount of burial spaces in certain areas, as well as burdensome fees for additional services beyond burials themselves, such as transportation and headstone installation.

Coping with Closures of Facilities Due to Social Distancing/Quarantine

  • How to get food, medication and other services to clients if agencies cannot keep facilities open due to social distancing requirements.
  • Difficulty recruiting and mobilizing volunteers due to social distancing.

Serving Seniors

  • Difficulty serving isolated seniors and other homebound individuals.
  • Seniors are particularly at-risk for coronavirus.
  • Jewish nursing homes are facing outbreaks of coronavirus and the risk of such outbreaks. Their staffing needs have increased related to security (not letting visitors in) and meals (since residents can no longer congregate).

Revenue/Donation Sources are Down

  • Loss of fee-for-service revenues
  • Loss of revenues from cancelled fundraising events
  • Grantees that typically receive donated food and supplies from hotels, restaurants and grocery stores are not receiving them now.

Issues Specific to Association of Jewish Aging Services Communities (Source: Jewish Federations of North America)

The impact from the Covid-19 pandemic to the 103 Association of Jewish Aging Services communities throughout North America (serving 430,000 elders) has been upending and substantial. Providing health and safety to residents, as well as impactful leadership and personal protection to the 43,000 staff working within affiliated facilities represents a daunting responsibility …

The health and well-being of both residents and team members are the first and utmost considerations. The inability to continue the admissions process in many of the communities as beds open up due to the virus and other causes of death will have dire impact on their fiscal situations and viability. Additionally, we are beginning to examine the need for support and innovative applications from a psychological perspective for our frontline staff and family members. The health care workers are the life blood of these communities every day, but never more so than at this moment. Unfortunately, they have not been exempted from this terrible virus either. Covering shifts, overtime and maintaining appropriate levels of on-site support is critical and may become tenuous as this pandemic progresses.

In some of our communities it has been necessary to create COVID-19 specific units as the number of residents with symptoms and subsequent diagnosis becomes significant and overwhelming. An additional sad note to add that many states are amending the processes by which deceased residents are being removed, which affects the opportunity for sacred Jewish burial practices … Many of these agencies will generally be unable to access the SBA loans, and while their basic Medicaid or other reimbursement systems are not at risk, the increase in open beds in the short term could wreak significant havoc.

Issues Specific to Jewish Family Service and Jewish Vocational Service Agencies (Source: Jewish Federations of North America)

JFS and JVS agencies have been highly disrupted by the closure of their facilities and the loss of ability to meet clients in person or deliver home-based services. Many agencies provide such services on government contract and their government revenue is tied to delivery of service units and face-to-face contact. Few government departments have been able yet to reorient their service contracts to enable the agencies to know they have reimbursement for services they are delivering differently (mostly via HIPAA compliant technology platforms, which might be reimbursable, and also by telephone, which is not reimbursable.

The key issue for these agencies is the ability to recalibrate their government contracts for the current situation, and to be able to access Federation, foundation or other philanthropic support to deliver emergency services and sustain services to ongoing clients. Additionally, as many of these agencies provide home care for vulnerable older adults, including Holocaust survivors, and operate residential programs for persons with disabilities the need for personal protective equipment (face masks, protective gowns, and gloves) is critical. Priority is going to hospitals and community-based agencies are struggling to source materials to ensure the safety of their caregiving staff and their at-risk and often home-bound clients.

The loss of agency generated fundraising revenue because of cancelled events is also a significant challenge for many. JFNA is assisting the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies with administering a survey of their affiliated agencies to gather data on the scope of financial impact on their network.

Responses

UJA-Federation of New York has allocated approximately $45 million in emergency funding to meet needs across the New York region and in Israel. In New York, this includes grants to expand food distribution, offer virtual programming for homebound seniors, and support the operational capacity of key human service agencies, Jewish community centers, and to assist low-income populations, and to ensure that no Jewish casualty of the virus will be denied a dignified burial.

The Rose Community Foundation (Denver) awarded over 120 grants totaling $1,566,754. The grants were directed to nonprofit organizations and government agencies on the front lines of COVID-19 prevention, containment and response and are specifically aimed at supporting the Greater Denver region’s most vulnerable and impacted populations.

This collection of grants – focused primarily on prevention, containment and emergency response to the basic need impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations – represents the first of three anticipated COVID-19 grantmaking phases. Future grantmaking will develop to meet evolving community needs and will likely address impact mitigation and, eventually, recovery and stabilization efforts. The Foundation explained its three-phased plan for funding, which it believes can serve as a model for other Jewish funders during the coronavirus crisis, in this eJewishPhilanthropy article.

Providing Critical Personal Protective Equipment for Jewish Healthcare Providers and Institutions: JFN, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the North American Volunteer Network are teaming up (and raising funds) to purchase equipment and distribute to the Association of Jewish Aging Services and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. Learn more here. 

A document prepared by the David Berg Foundation describes the work being done by nonprofits providing end-of-life and funeral services in response to Covid-19, including a dramatic increase in burials by the Hebrew Free Burial Association in New York, and a successful campaign requesting donated prayer shawls for burial. 

The Jewish United Fund in Chicago announced a $26 million coronavirus initiative to be used for: Emergency financial aid, including cash grants for housing, food, medical care and other essentials for individuals and families. Some assistance will be provided through synagogues’ Rabbinic Discretionary Funds; Increased food assistance, including expansion of pantries, grocery gift cards and meal programs; Health and safety, including enhanced staffing, trauma counseling and personal protective equipment for Mount Sinai Hospital, residential programs and other caregivers serving seniors and people with disabilities; and Community stability, including emergency operating support and professional expertise for local Jewish human service and educational agencies.

The Azrieli Foundation approved an emergency fund on March 18, earmarking $2 million to be directed to immediate needs in Canada, and NIS 10M to needs in Israel. Priority areas include serving the elderly and Holocaust survivors (particularly for food and basic needs), the educational and psychosocial needs of at-risk youth and special-needs learners, services for individuals with disabilities.

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and Leichtag Foundation have partnered to establish the San Diego Jewish Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The accelerating scale of COVID-19 calls for a coordinated, streamlined response to support those who are most vulnerable and impacted primarily in San Diego’s Jewish community. A consortium of initial funders have already contributed more than $1.6 million to launch this Fund. This urgent effort will gather information about community needs and immediately allocate funds, employing effective processes that proved successful in prior crises.

The Jewish Communal Fund announced $1 million in emergency coronavirus response grants on April 6. This injection of funding will be earmarked for food delivery for low-income New Yorkers, cash assistance and social services for single parents and Holocaust survivors, and thousands of Passover meals to go.

The Claims Conference has established a Holocaust survivor COVID-19 emergency assistance fund, with $4.3 million in initial funds, to help address urgent needs worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic. It also announced it will be providing significant advances of nearly $300 million of the over $600 million in previously committed funds to agencies and relaxing reporting deadlines in an effort to mitigate any funding issues. The emergency fund, which includes $100,000 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and €200,000 from the Alfred Landecker Foundation, will reinforce an array of services already in place, including delivering meals and medicine, assisting survivors with rent and utility payments, supporting short-term sheltering for Holocaust survivors, and expanding virtual/telephonic socialization programs and volunteer programs to help alleviate isolation and loneliness through secure methods. It also seeks to ensure that survivors can be cared for safely, by providing funding for personal protective equipment (such as masks, gowns, gloves, etc.) and sanitizing agents.

The Russell Berrie Foundation has approved $1.82 million in grants to serve organizations based primarily in Northern New Jersey including $235,000 granted to Jewish communal institutions. The grants primarily address medical and health care needs, food insecurity, and economic insecurity.

Resources

A New Fund Is Providing Aid to Jews of Color Struggling Due to Coronavirus

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 27

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Focus on Mental Health & Aging (2nd in a 3-Part Series)

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Focus on Mental Health & Aging (2nd in a 3-Part Series)

Date and time - Tuesday, May 26
12-1 p.m. Eastern

Source - Nat'l Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty/JFN webinar

In Jewish Philanthropy, a Case Study in How a Crisis Can Expand Communal Giving

Description - Op-Ed

Source - Inside Philanthropy
May 18

Jewish Crowdfunding Sites Meet Their Moment, Raising Millions of Dollars for Coronavirus Victims

Description - News article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 18

May All Who are Hungry Come and Eat: Jewish Community Farming in the Face of Coronavirus

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 20

Why These 18 Israeli Donors Are Helping Get Protective Equipment to North American Jewish Social Service Providers

Why These 18 Israeli Donors Are Helping Get Protective Equipment to North American Jewish Social Service Providers

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 20

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Third in a Series

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Third in a Series

Date and time - Tuesday, June 9
12-1 p.m. Eastern

Source - JFN/National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty webinar

The Russell Berrie Foundation Announces $4.48 Million in Emergency Grants to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts in New Jersey and Israel

Description - Press release

Source - Russell Berrie Foundation
May 19

At Jewish Home, a Coronavirus Success Story

Description - News article

Source - Forward
May 14

Being a Fundraiser, but on the Front Lines

Description - Essay

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 15

Part 1 in a Series on Food Insecurity & Housing During Covid-19

Part 1 in a Series on Food Insecurity & Housing During Covid-19

Description - First in a series on poverty and the impact of Covid-19

Source - JFN webinar
May 14

Cutbacks at Social-Service Groups on the Rise, Poll Finds

Description - News article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
May 11

Impact of Covid-19 on Jewish Human Service Agencies — and the Case for Giving

Description - Document

Source - Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty: How Members Are Responding to Covid-19

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty: How Members Are Responding to Covid-19

Description - Newsletter

Source - National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty
May 12

For Jews Hit Hard by the Pandemic, a New Worry — Not Having Enough Food

Description - News article (Sponsored by JFNA)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 11

Federations Tap Deep Experience and Networks to Respond to Pandemic-Era Needs

Description - News Article (JFNA-sponsored)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (Sponsored Content)
May 8

Returning to Basics

Description - Op-Ed

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 8

Push for Profits Left Nursing Homes Struggling to Provide Care

Description - News article

Source - The New York Times
May 7

Jewish End-of-Life Services Offered in Response to COVID-19

Jewish End-of-Life Services Offered in Response to COVID-19

Description - Guide/Update

Source - The David Berg Foundation
May 7

Deep Layoffs at Jewish Federations of North America

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 6

The Ruderman White Paper on Fair Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Ruderman White Paper on Fair Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Description - White paper

Source - Ruderman Family Foundation
April 2020

How the Coronavirus is Hitting Jewish Communities Worldwide

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 5

Jewish United Fund in Chicago Launches $26 Million Coronavirus Initiative

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 5

Sharansky to Use Genesis Prize Proceeds to Fight Coronavirus

Description - News Article

Source - Associated Press
May 4

Direct Service in the Age of Coronavirus

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
April 30

Emergency ‘Pledge to Protect’ Campaign for Personal Protective Equipment

Emergency ‘Pledge to Protect’ Campaign for Personal Protective Equipment

How US Jewish Groups Are Helping Overwhelmed Health Care Workers

Description - News Article (Sponsored)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
April 23

$9 Million in Emergency Funding for Jewish Life Projects

Source - UJA-Federation of New York
April 23

Yom HaShoah Briefing and Commemoration: Holocaust Survivors During COVID-19

Yom HaShoah Briefing and Commemoration: Holocaust Survivors During COVID-19

Source - JFN
April 20

Guidelines for the Elderly, their Caregivers, and Families During COVID-19

Description - Videos/Materials

Source - JDC/Eshel

Video: Supporting Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19

Video: Supporting Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19

Description - JFN Webinar
March 30

Ordering Personal Protective Equipment for Jewish Healthcare Providers and Institutions

Description - Presentation

Source - JFN, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the North American Volunteer Network

Charitable Food Resource Guide During COVID-19

Description - Curated resources

Source - Mazon

Report from American Jewish Joint-Distribution Committee

Source - JDC
March 23

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Description - JFN Webinar
March 18

Nonprofit Funding Proposals

Pandemic Support for Children with Disabilities

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Kayla Children's Centre (Toronto)

Virtual Therapeutic Interventions to Manage Mental Health and Well-Being

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Jewish Vocational Service of Metropolitan Toronto

Opening Doors in a COVID World

Description - Funding proposal

Source - DANI: Developing and Nurturing Independence (Toronto)

Emergency Food Packages for Needy Homebound Holocaust Survivors

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Met Council on Jewish Poverty (New York)

Helping Single Parents Survive Covid-19

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (New York)

Teen Suicide Prevention Program

Description - Funding Proposal

Source - Rohr Jewish Learning Institute

If you have additional information about needs and responses, please contact us:

  Needs and Responses