NYS program will help Holocaust survivors access healthcare

ALBANY N.Y. (WHEC) — New York State announced on Wednesday that it will provide $2.6 million to support the physical and mental health of Holocaust survivors.

The state’s Office of Aging will lead the healthcare services programs that are open to the nearly 40,000 Holocaust survivors statewide. Survivors require more medical care with their population aging, said Gov. Kathy Hochul. The youngest Holocaust survivors in the state are in their mid-70s.

One of the programs provides mental health support for people suffering from the psychological impacts of the Holocaust. Another provides home visits from professionals for survivors who experience sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression.

Statewide, 40% of Holocaust survivors live in poverty. The governor’s office plans to provide survivors of the genocide with emergency financial assistance, which will help with food, housing, and prescription medications.

Hochul said the pandemic has been particularly painful for Holocaust survivors because it has exacerbated feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Since March 2020, survivors have turned to mental health and social services more than ever.

"Survivors of the Holocaust endured tragedy beyond the imaginations of the average person," Hochul said. "We owe them a lifetime of care and with this funding we can ensure they receive just that."

The funding for the programs will come from the 2023 state budget.

The CEO of the United Jewish Appeal of New York, Eric Goldstein, said the funding will provide survivors will critical services to support a good quality of life as they age.

"Because of their past trauma, survivors often require a special set of social, medical, and mental health services, and this funding will make a dramatic difference," he said.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester has documented the stories of Rochester-area Holocaust survivors, including through video interviews on their website.