JFCS, JFS Have Emergency Funding Options

As the supplemental federal unemployment benefits have ended for those that have been affected by job losses due to COVID-19, both Jewish Family Service of St. Paul and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Minneapolis have emergency funding options available to the community.

JFS offers emergency financial assistance for those who qualify – assistance that can be used for emergency expenses related to housing, utilities, transportation, and some health expenses.

This spring, JFS received an emergency grant from the St. Paul Jewish Federation and the Otto Bremer Trust through the Community Benefit Financial Company Emergency Fund to be used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

JFS is distributing the funds through its Emergency Financial Assistance program, normally funded through individual donations. This program helps with expenses related to housing, utilities, transportation, and some health expenses. Qualifications include being a current JFS client and/or being a member of the St. Paul Jewish community. Assistance must be able to stabilize a situation.

Typically, the program provides a maximum of $500 in assistance. However, the maximum has been increased to $1,000 during this extraordinary time. Requests for assistance in this program have increased nearly 250 percent over the same period in 2019.

“We’ve helped substitute teachers, self-employed individuals, local artists and performers and many others through the devastating hardships the pandemic and record unemployment have brought,” said JFS CEO Ruth Hampton Olkon.

JFCS launched its COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance Fund with an initial grant from the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. The program provides limited financial assistance to eligible individuals for situations such as: rent assistance, utility bills, food, auto repair for getting to work/school, etc. Eligible applicants are Jewish, currently active in a JFCS program, or work at a Jewish institution.