The pandemic has brought on seismic shifts in all aspects of daily life and impacted all sectors of society and tiers of professional life. But those most vulnerable among us are clearly now and in the near future facing the most dire consequences. Those living paycheck to paycheck have been hard hit by dramatic and sudden job loss, and those already relying on others for assistance with basic needs have seen themselves cornered into greater isolation. Those already food insecure have seen new obstacles in access to meals, groceries, and essentials. Housing insecurity has grown, with many now uncertain how they will cover rent, make their mortgage payments, or pay their monthly utility bill or home repair expenses. As emergency relief runs out, debt is mounting and insecurity for individuals and families looms large.
The funding briefs below, prepared by the National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty, highlight efforts underway and outline concrete opportunities to partner and invest in this work. breaking down the main needs into six categories. Below, you can download the PDFs and find links to relevant videos.
Those facing food insecurity come from all walks of life. The pandemic is further exacerbating an already difficult situation as people struggle with limitations on transportation, closure of community spaces, and most importantly, extreme financial hardship caused by job loss, underemployment, and emergency childcare. Some people are seeing an increase in existing financial challenges. Others are experiencing new and unexpected hardship for the very first time. Jewish social service agencies already on the frontlines, have been forced to work differently while ramping up programs and services to address new and growing needs.
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis, in particular rising job loss and underemployment, have created deep financial challenges leading to growing housing insecurity in the community. And, it is expected that the true impact of the pandemic on housing and shelter is yet to come. Social services agencies have ramped up and pivoted to address these urgent and emerging needs, which are disproportionately affecting communities of color, even while facing their own pandemic-related challenges and significant revenue loss.
Many community members have faced job loss, underemployment, and growing financial hardship in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, many are facing food and housing insecurity and acute economic challenges for the very first time. Social services agencies have ramped up and pivoted to address these urgent and emerging needs even while facing their own pandemic related challenges and significant revenue loss.
Amid the pandemic and new financial and health hardships faced by individuals and families, Jewish organizations providing services and support in the mental health arena have needed to work differently while, at the same time, responding to and preparing for new and growing needs.
As one of the most vulnerable populations to the coronavirus, older adults have faced vulnerability and unique challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. Social services agencies, even as they face their own pandemic-related challenges and revenue loss, have ramped up and pivoted services to meet urgent and rapidly-evolving needs for this population. Investment in agency response to the crisis is needed to provide critical emergency support for vulnerable older adults while ensuring sustainability and continuity of these services for some time to come
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the system of organizations combatting poverty within the Jewish community, and in particular key actors such as community-based Jewish human service agencies, have needed to ramp up and pivot services and dramatically expand capacity to address intensifying poverty in the community and increasing challenges for vulnerable populations and older adults. These organizations are stepping up in the face of emerging need, even as they experience significant loss of revenue and unprecedented pandemic-related challenges. It should be noted that the sector itself has many partners, including government (local, State, Federal), other nonprofit organizations that provide critical support and educational services including advocacy organizations that work to effect social change, and direct service organizations addressing focused needs or populations. And throughout, social media and the Jewish press play critical roles in promoting the availability of human services and portraying the impact of current community needs in this service arena. Lastly, the increasing basic needs of Jewish community members have extended to other Jewish communal organizations and synagogues, highlighting the growing need for increased scholarship assistance for day schools and camps and requests for dues reductions with synagogues and JCC’s.