The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

Abraham Biderman

· Jewish Poverty
broken image

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty is a non-profit organization located in Brooklyn, New York. It was founded in 1972 due to the high poverty level among Jews living in New York. The first members formed the council through the partnership of 36 Jewish organizations in America, such as the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York and the American Jewish Congress.

In 2020, the council recorded helping over 305,000 people in New York. Originally constructed to help only Jews, the Met Council has expanded over the years to help New York citizens regardless of age, gender, sexuality, community, or race.

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty offers a feeding system called the Kosher Food Network with over 100 pantries that provide kosher food to hungry people. This service provided over 15.2 million pounds of food to the needy in 2020 and has also provided a digital website where users may order food from a feeding house and pick it up at their own pace. Along with the website is the Emergency Food Card program, where a user gets a prepaid credit card to purchase food in cases of emergencies.

The Met Council's emergency crisis services offer assistance to persons at risk of eviction or utility shut down. They also provide caseworkers to assess the situation, provide food and financial aid, toiletries, school supplies, as well as whatever benefits a person without housing may be entitled to. Emergency crisis services also include a crisis helpline that clients may call to lodge complaints or procure assistance. The Council also has the affordable housing program, which provides all the aforementioned assistance alongside temporary housing.

To protect victims of domestic violence, the Met Council included the Family Violence Services to provide safe housing, financial assistance, therapy, food services, and a detailed description of the case to the relevant authorities. They also provide counseling, free childcare, and legal services to victims of family violence.

In collaboration with New York City Human Resources Administration and local institutions, the Met Council has provided a benefit and outreach program at 20 locations in New York. The program offers a range of interpreters in major languages like Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French Creole, and Arabic who can help clients with information on the proper documents to apply for benefits and the process in total. The benefits that persons in need may apply for in America are Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Child's Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Housing Assistance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. In conjunction with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the benefits and outreach program also provides food stamps, which can improve a family's purchasing power while giving them access to nutritious meals.

Because of its Jewish nature, the Met Council provides services for survivors of the Holocaust through their Holocaust survivor program. These services include feeding, financial and housing assistance, home repairs, counseling, and social events to prevent loneliness and isolation. Such events include a trip to a museum, a Broadway show, a photo gallery, and a Chanukah party. The Met Council also provides a senior service program that caters to senior citizens and offers the same services as those in the holocaust program, alongside an application for benefits.