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Some Good News for Israel’s Vulnerable

Grant will Provide Dozens of New Homes for Senior Citizens
By: Joshua Berkman
Published: May 9th, 2012 in News » Israel

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has granted $1.8 million to the Israel Education Fund (IEF) -- a partnership of The Jewish Federations of North America and The Jewish Agency for Israel -- and to Amigour (a non-profit subsidiary of the Jewish Agency) to provide new homes for dozens of vulnerable senior citizens in Israel.

The grant will create 55 additional housing units for elderly senior citizens, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, in Amigour’s Kiryat Ono’s Sheltered Housing Facility. Construction is set to begin this summer, and the apartments will be completed by December 2014.

Amigour, which provides flexible housing solutions for economically disadvantaged new immigrants and Israeli senior citizens, operates 57 sheltered housing projects throughout Israel and serves 7,500 vulnerable senior citizens. Residents in Amigour sheltered housing facilities pay a low monthly rent, and benefit from the organization’s range of social and cultural services.

“This important donation is a continuation of the longstanding joint efforts of the Weinberg Foundation and Amigour,” said Arieh Abir, Amigour’s chairman. “It will enhance the welfare of senior citizens, new immigrants and Holocaust survivors who have been waiting for suitable and new housing solutions in Israel for many years.”

The project will add two floors to the Sheltered Housing Facility in Kiryat Ono, which currently contains 79 residential units and houses approximately 81 socioeconomically disadvantaged senior citizens, new immigrants and Holocaust survivors. Once the project is completed, 139 people will live in the facility’s 134 apartment units.

“For many years, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation had been proud to assist Amigour in the construction of apartment residences for low income older adults. Despite increasing demand for sheltered housing solutions, it has been difficult to bring together the necessary funding for new construction during the last few years,” said Barry Schloss, trustee and treasurer for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. “The Foundation is excited to again be able to partner with Amigour in providing Israeli older adults with desirable residential units.”

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation’s mission is to help low-income and vulnerable individuals and families – with a priority for poor older adults – through grants to nonprofits that provide direct services. The Foundation has contributed to many capital development projects in Israel through IEF and the Jewish Agency over the years, and has been a major funder of 13 Amigour facilities for seniors.

The Weinberg Foundation grant will not only create additional housing units, but also contribute to renovations for the interior and exterior of the existing Sheltered Housing Facility. Through this grant, the building will get new electrical and fire safety systems, a façade upgrade, reinforcement for earthquake protection and security rooms (bomb shelters) for the older apartments on the lower floors.

The project will help ease the waiting list for senior citizen housing in Israel; recent Ministry of Absorption and Ministry of Housing figures report that thousands of disadvantaged senior citizens are without suitable housing.

“We are pleased and proud that the Weinberg Foundation is supporting the creation of elderly housing in Kiryat Ono through the Israel Education Fund and Amigour,” said Terry M. Rubenstein, chairwoman of IEF. “This renewed partnership delivers more high quality housing for the elderly, for which the Weinberg Foundation is known throughout the world.”

Amigour’s Sheltered Housing Facility in Kiryat Ono is just one of more than 1,250 construction projects that IEF donors have built since the Fund’s inception in 1964. IEF, a direct fundraising initiative of JFNA and the Jewish Agency, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in donor-designated gifts for supplemental education capital projects and scholarships in Israel.

Related articles: Israel, Senior Citizens, Seniors, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg, Israel Education Fund, UJA, Elderly, Holocaust, Housing, Kiryat Ono
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