JFS Steps Up in Times of Crisis

Since the agency physically closed in the middle of March, Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Greater New Haven staff quickly adapted to continue to meet clients’ needs in new, creative ways. Here are several ways JFS is rising to challenges during this time:

  • The mental clinic continues to run smoothly over video connection. It is accepting new clients, just as if the office were open.
  • The staff has focused on aging adults in the community with accessible ways to engage with them. Previously planned groups are running through video or conference calls where several individuals are able to engage at one time. These groups are meeting weekly; they provide social interaction and therapeutic support to the most vulnerable.
  • The therapeutic foster care team has also created a Zoom support group to connect parents and children who are now all home.
  • JFS foster care case workers supported a woman who was fostering an 11-year old who is a danger to himself and others. Together, they brainstormed with the child on ways to help him. Through this collaboration, and with the help of DCF, they were able to connect the child with his birth father—something he identified as important to him.
  • JFS’ volunteer coordinator and pantry director have organized pre-packed bags that clients in need are able to receive through a no-contact pickup model.
  • During one of the virtual groups, clients talked about the need to take it one day at a time and push themselves to be flexible. The JFS staff are inspired by their clients tenacity and resiliency.
  • SOS case managers helped a newly unemployed father obtain Husky health insurance for himself and his daughter, and three hours of mental health services helped him contain his anxiety before he could take that next step.

JFS continues to seek innovative ways to engage with clients and meet the ever-changing needs of the community. Contact JFS at (203) 389-5599 or via emails addresses available at jfsnh.org.

Water Bill Assistance from Dollar Energy Fund

JFS is able to help community members with their water bills by partnering with Dollar Energy Fund (dollarenergy.org), a grant organization that provides monetary assistance for utility payments. In Connecticut, qualifying individuals who have South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority may be eligible for assistance. Individuals whose household income was at, or below, 175% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines in the last 30 days could be eligible for a one-time payment of $175 towards their bill.

Currently, JFS social workers are placing these applications over the phone. Applicants must digitally provide their water bill and income verification for household members reflective of the last 30 days. To be screened for eligibility and apply, call Liz Davenport, LMSW, at (203) 389-5599, x117. Leave your name and callback number.

Journey through Grief Support Group

During these times of uncertainty and social isolation, feelings of grief and loneliness may intensify. Andrea Joseph, LCSW, will be hosting a virtual bereavement support group for adults 60 and older who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Come talk about what you are experiencing in a supportive and safe environment. The 1-hour group session will begin on Friday, May 8, at 11 a.m. and will continue to meet virtually every second Friday of the month during the public health crisis. To RSVP, and for more information about the group and how you can connect, email ajoseph@jfsnh.org.

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