Rozic and State Legislators Secure Landmark State Aid for Holocaust Survivors

On Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, state budget commits increased funding for programming and safety net services for Holocaust survivors

Queens, NY After making the Holocaust Survivors Initiative a priority in this year’s state budget, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows), Speaker Carl E. Heastie and 10 state legislators announced $1.5 million in funding to assist survivors. This record allocation marks an almost 400% increase in funding from previous year’s budgets.

“New York’s budget commits to caring for those who need it most – Holocaust survivors. It is our responsibility to ensure that they have access to all the necessary services to live with the comfort and dignity they deserve, especially with the added health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “I am grateful to Speaker Carl E. Heastie and all of my colleagues for their partnership in securing this essential funding.”

Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie said: “This year’s budget backs up the state’s support of Holocaust survivors with landmark funding to ensure our most vulnerable receive the services and support they need. Yom HaShoah is an annual reminder of what can happen when hate is unchecked and I am proud to reiterate that New York rejects hate and stands with survivors.”

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “New York, and my district in the Bronx, is home to many survivors of the Holocaust. This is one of the most, if not the most, horrific thing human beings have ever done to one another and I am proud that this year's budget includes funding for those New Yorkers who experienced firsthand this horror. Thank you to my colleagues in the Assembly Majority, and in particular to Assemblymember Rozic, who spearheaded our effort to secure this financial support for survivors of the Holocaust.”

Assemblymember Charles Lavine said: “As we mark the solemn occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I would like to express my deepest appreciation for the inclusion in the budget of $1.5 million dollars in funding for Holocaust survivor services. This is especially meaningful to me as a representative of the state of New York and as a Jew whose entire European family was murdered by the Nazis and their allies.”

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, the son of Holocaust survivors himself, said: “After enduring the horrors of the Holocaust, survivors today face poverty, food insecurity, medical crises, and trauma. This $1.5 million in funding will bring care and support to this already vulnerable group that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. I join with my colleagues on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, to honor those that are not with us by taking care of those that still remain.”

Assemblyman David I. Weprin said: “After living through unimaginable horrors, Holocaust survivors need our support. That’s why I joined my colleague, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, in advocating for an increase of funding to the Holocaust Survivors Initiative. The $1 million in additional funding will help cover critical services, like trauma informed care, mental health counseling and housing assistance. In a time where we must all be socially distant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these services are needed now more than ever to help ensure Holocaust survivors live and age in dignity and respect.” 

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi said: “Thousands of Holocaust survivors in New York live below or near the federal poverty line, and countless others are still affected by the immeasurable trauma they experienced as children and young adults. In a year marked by isolation and extreme uncertainty, it is imperative that we protect this vitally important group of individuals and offer them every resource at our disposal.”

Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal said: “When the last of a generation that survived unspeakable atrocities needs help we have a duty to be there for them. We must provide the resources that survivors require in order for them to live with grace and dignity, they have earned that right. I proudly stand with my colleagues in this worthwhile effort.”

Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein said: “Making sure that every single one of our precious Holocaust survivors are provided for is one of our key responsibilities as legislators. Today, as we commemorate Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are collectively glad to announce this new allocation in this year’s budget.”

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein said: “On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we renew our pledge to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and vow to teach our youngest and future generations about the millions of lives we lost due to anti-Semitism and intolerance taking hold. I am proud to join my Assembly colleagues to advocate for and deliver $1.5 million in funding dedicated to offering care, support and resources to Holocaust survivors across the state of New York.”

Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright said: “As the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, we must carry on their tradition of sharing the lessons and remembrance of the over 6 million Jews who perished. I am proud that the budget includes $1.5 million in funding for Holocaust survivor services.”

Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York said: “UJA-Federation of New York is grateful for the unwavering efforts of Assembly Member Rozic and her colleagues in the Assembly and Senate for their work in securing $1.5 million to support services for Holocaust survivors in New York. Their commitment to helping survivors age with dignity has resulted in this significant investment. Because of their past trauma, survivors often require a special set of social, health, and mental health services, and this funding will make a huge difference helping these individuals.”

Danielle Ellman, CEO of Commonpoint Queens said: “We are so grateful for Assemblywoman Rozic's advocacy and efforts to provide these incredibly meaningful resources for our community's Holocaust Survivors and their families. It's an honor to work together to provide vital programs, focusing on everything from physical and mental health to socialization opportunities.”

Stuart C. Kaplan, CEO, Selfhelp Community Services said: “For Holocaust survivors, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant more than a year of living in isolation, experiencing trauma, and demonstrating resilience. As we enter what we hope will be the final stage of the pandemic, funding and support from government is key to ensuring that survivors continue to age with the independence and dignity they deserve, especially those struggling with poverty and deteriorating health conditions. As the largest provider of comprehensive services to Holocaust survivors in North America, Selfhelp Community Services sincerely thanks Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and her colleagues in the Assembly and Senate, along with Governor Cuomo, for their significant investment in this population.” 

Masha Pearl, Executive Director of The Blue Card, which assists Holocaust survivors financially, said: “On behalf of the over nearly 40,000 Holocaust Survivors living in New York State, many of whom are struggling to afford basic necessities, The Blue Card would like to applaud NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Assembly Member Nily Rozic, and all the sponsors involved in assuring that $1.5 million is allocated to support Holocaust Survivors living in poverty. These funds are absolutely vital for the health and well-being of this extremely vulnerable population and we are very appreciative that New York State legislature remembers them and supports them in these challenging times.”

The funding approved in this year’s state budget for Holocaust survivors residing in New York will provide financial assistance, mental health care, legal services, transportation, and sensitive end-of-life care.

As survivors age and navigate expected challenges, they need additional support for issues that stem directly from experiences in the Holocaust. Studies have found that survivors face a higher incidence of cancer, heart disease, PTSD, and depression. More than 50% of survivors living in New York City can be classified as ‘very poor’ or ‘near poor’ under federal guidelines.