UJA-Federation To Launch Largest Anti-Poverty Push In Its History
In the teeth of the Great Recession of 2008, with many Jewish professionals caught up in the economic bloodletting, UJA-Federation of New York launched Connect to Care. It was the charity’s central response to the economic downturn, and it provided, at various locations across the metropolitan area, one-stop support for the unemployed and under-employed trying to dig out of a life-crippling hole.
Now, a decade later, the one-stop social-service approach is back this time as a way to fight the stubborn problem of Jewish poverty.
Even as most economists believe that the economy is humming along — New York City job growth outpaced the national average for a full decade, from 2006 to 2016, according to Bloomberg — Jewish poverty persists, and in some estimates is even growing.
With an investment of some $35 million — believed to be its most extensive anti-poverty initiative to date — UJA-Federation is setting up, in partnership with the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and the Central Queens Y, two Community Resource Hubs that will offer a wide variety of social services. And the charity is installing digital food-ordering programs at the nearly three dozen food pantries in Greater New York under Met Council auspices.
Jeff Schoenfeld, UJA-Federation president, described the hubs and digitalized food pantries as “a different approach to lifting people out of poverty,” beyond “maintenance.” He framed it as an attempt to centralize the array of social services offered by UJA-Federation agencies, with the improved food pantries both guarding the dignity of recipients and serving as an entry point for people who may need other services...