The Jewish Federations of North America use a portrayal of a homeless man sleeping on a sidewalk to demonstrate the Federations' value and the work they claim to do. The problem? The Federations do little, if anything, to help such homeless people.
The Jewish Federations of North America lied. They used a fictional portrayal of a homeless man sleeping on a sidewalk to justify their existence and to get you to give the Federations money.
Indeed, single homeless men under retirement age – which this fictional homeless person seems to be – do not have shelters supported by the Federations to go to. There are no jobs programs. And even the meager counselling the Federations offer, usually through local Jewish Family Services, are often not equipped to deal with chronic homelessness and related issues.
I sent an 18-year-old incest and abuse survivor to her local JFS for help. She has no family to turn to and is in an abusive relationship that is dangerous. The JFS told her to go to a shelter for battered women – a shelter not paid for by the JFS or the Federations. But the shelters were full, the counselor said, and she offered to get her on a wait list. The JFS did not offer emergency housing, not even one night in a cheap motel, or anything else to get her safely away from an abusive mate.
The Federations have no street outreach programs for homeless adults and street kids. The Federations do not support drop in centers for the homeless or even shelters for the adult male homeless population. In many cities, the Federations offer nothing at all.
Yet they raise money on the backs of the very people they do not help and do so less than a month after their annual General Assembly, whose theme was "Tikkun Olam," "repairing the world"?!
If there was ever a reason not to give money to a Jewish Federation, this disgraceful video is it.
If you want to help homeless people or people on the verge of becoming homeless and you don't know where to put your money, use the donation button immediately below and I'll get the money to people who need it.
The disgraceful video from the Jewish Federations of North America: