Met Council was proud to participate in Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) conference on Immigrant Aging in Queens: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities. The forum examined the health, economic, and housing issues facing immigrant seniors in Queens and New York City as a whole.
Susan Moritz, Met Council on Jewish Poverty’s Geriatric Social Work Manager spoke about how Met Council aids, sustains and empowers New Yorkers in need. Particularly vulnerable are senior immigrants, whose median income is only $9,900, compared with $18,300 for native born seniors.
Since Met Council’s inception, caring for seniors has been core to our mission. Many of our clients work their entire lives, but when they become too frail to work, they lack a deep and wide enough safety net. Susan shared the story of one such client, Saul Gold, is a homebound Russian-speaking senior, who, if not for Met Council staff’s professionalism, warmth and cultural sensitivity would have nowhere else to turn.
In 2002, after years of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, Sam immigrated to the US. In New York, he was unable to secure a job despite his training as a mechanical engineer. Now, Sam is homebound following a stroke and a heart attack, as well as an aneurysm. Sam was unable to afford his rent, medical and utility bills. In order to remain self sufficient, Sam moved from his bug infested apartment into one of Met Council’s affordable housing units. Met Council case workers ensured a smooth transition of all his benefits to the new Manhattan address, provided counseling for his isolation and covered his moving expenses. His new affordable and safe apartment, which reminds him of his home in Dnipropetrovsk, is filled with photos of his late wife and his granddaughter, a pianist prodigy, and many old James Bond movies.
Sam is only one of tens of thousands of New Yorkers whom Met Council case workers help empower to confront the many challenges our clients face. Every day, our caseworkers conduct a thorough assessment with clients to create an effective intervention plan that works towards overcoming these challenges by connecting clients to financial assistance, benefits enrollment, and kosher food pantries.