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CA Legislature Proposes Major Funding for Holocaust Education and Survivor Assistance, Bringing Anticipated JPAC Budget Victories to $132.2 Million

The Legislature’s Joint Budget Agreement Includes $36 Million for the California Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program (CHSAP) and $3 Million for Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) Holocaust Center

 

Yesterday, the California Assembly and Senate released their joint budget agreement, a critical step in the State’s annual budget approval process. It affirmed the four JPAC priority items totaling $93.2 million in Governor Newsom’s May budget proposal will likely be funded, and included two new JPAC priorities, totaling an additional $39 million:

 

$36 million for the California Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program (CHSAP). This program provides resources for five Jewish Family Service agencies – in San Diego, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and East Bay – to offer trauma-informed services including home care, culturally appropriate case management, home-delivered meals and groceries, transportation, and more to our aging Holocaust Survivor population. Around 50% of Survivors living in San Diego, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area live at or below the poverty line. While the Claims Conference typically fills gaps in state funding for in-home and skilled nursing care, its recent allocation did not nearly meet the needs of a Survivor population that requires increasing support as they age and that suffers from isolation and subsequent trauma due to the Covid-19 pandemic. CHSAP funding will provide vital resources to allow our Survivor population to age with dignity. Senator Henry Stern and the leadership of the Legislative Jewish Caucus – Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Chair, and Senator Scott Wiener, Vice Chair – championed the CHSAP funding request. JPAC and Jewish Family Service agencies worked closely with the Jewish Caucus to develop the proposal, and led advocacy efforts. In 2018, the State granted $3.6 million for the CHSAP; this allocation represents a 10-fold increase in the state’s investment.

 

$3 million for the renovation and enhancement of Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) Holocaust Center in San Francisco. The JFCS Holocaust Center is the preeminent organization in Northern California for Holocaust and genocide education, serving over 28,000 students, teachers, and community members each year. The building renovation project will preserve priceless archival items that are essential for teaching about the Holocaust and critical for scholarly research. It will also enhance a wide range of critical programs and activities to better serve current and future educators, students, scholars, Holocaust survivors and their descendants. The Jewish Caucus championed this request, in coordination with JPAC and JFCS.

 

In addition to these two items, the Legislature’s joint budget proposal includes four priority items totaling $93.2 million already proposed by Governor Newsom in his budget proposal on May 13, 2022:

 

    • $50 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program
    • $40 million rebuild six Jewish and non-Jewish summer camps that were destroyed in recent wildfires
    • $1.4 million to staff and fund the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education
    • $1.8 million to staff and fund the Commission on the State of Hate

 

To date, $132.2 million in JPAC priority items have been proposed for inclusion in this year’s state budget. The budget process is not yet finalized, but each of these items is expected to appear in the final Budget Bill, with the possibility of additional priorities funded in an upcoming budget “trailer bill.”

 

These are unprecedented budget victories for the California Jewish community. JPAC budget priorities funded in the state budget amounted to $76 million in 2021, and $40 million in 2019 (the 2020 state budget funding was sparse due to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic). Each of these numbers represented record highs at the time.

 

In the coming days, Legislative leaders will negotiate with Governor Newsom and reconcile their budget proposal with the Governor’s May 13th proposal. According to California law, the Legislature must pass a Budget Bill by June 15th, and the Governor must sign it by June 30th. Budget “trailer bills” add additional items to the State Budget and can be passed at any time after the Budget Bill.

 

Quotes

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Chair, Legislative Jewish Caucus: “The Jewish Caucus is proud to champion these initiatives and grateful that legislative leadership has recognized the importance of Holocaust education and the need to take care of our most vulnerable Survivors. We’re also grateful to our many advocacy partners — including JPAC and Jewish Family Service agencies — for supporting these efforts. Our partnership will ensure that our beloved Survivors can age with dignity and receive the services they need and deserve.”

 

Senator Henry Stern, Member, Legislative Jewish Caucus: “I’m grateful to our legislative leadership for standing up for Holocaust Survivors who are facing indignities in California they never should have had to face again—from homelessness and hunger to isolation and despair. Based on the tone of our recent meeting, I’m hopeful the Newsom Administration will agree to quickly deploy these emergency funds to thousands of vulnerable survivors desperate for care.”

 

Eli Veitzer, President & CEO, Jewish Family Service LA: “We are deeply grateful to the State Legislature for this critical funding and the Jewish Caucus for championing this request. As the last Survivors of the Holocaust reach extreme advanced age, their needs are increasing. Today, homecare and financial needs for this community are greater than ever. Combined with the skyrocketing costs of services, we have a critical funding crisis. Existing funding does not cover the increased home care, grocery and meal program needs, and other vital services that help our survivors stay safe and healthy. Survivors of the Holocaust deserve to live with dignity and this much-needed funding will ensure that survivors never face hunger, eviction, isolation, and despair again.”

 

Anita Friedman, Executive Director, JFCS San Francisco: “Through JPAC, the voice of California’s Jewish Community has been heard. Now every child in our State will learn about antisemitism, about the Holocaust, and about how – and why – to stand up against hate.”

 

Allison Gingold, Chair, JPAC Board of Directors: “JPAC commends the state legislature’s budget proposal, allocating critical funding to JPAC’s public policy priorities. We appreciate the legislature’s recognition of JPAC’s and the Jewish Caucus’s budgetary framework, which supports substantial investments in the security and welfare of our Jewish community and other public sectors in our state.”

 

David Bocarsly, Executive Director, JPAC: “All our strength lies in our partnerships. We are honored to work closely with the legislative and Jewish Family Service leaders who are driving this important work forward. We thank Senator Stern, Assemblymember Gabriel, Senator Wiener, and the entire Jewish Caucus for championing our shared cause and ensuring that Holocaust Education and Survivor Assistance remain a priority in California. While we remain optimistic, we will continue our advocacy efforts until we see all these items in the final budget.”

 

The full list of JPAC’s budget priorities, along with JPAC’s legislative priorities, can be found at: https://jpac-cal.org/our-work/2022-legislative-agenda/

 

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