Program to help families in need gets $155,000 boost

 The Milwaukee Jewish Federation has boosted the local J-Help financial assistance program with a $155,000 infusion, to help families who can’t meet their expenses during the current economic downturn. 

J-Help provides temporary and emergency financial assistance to Jews and clients of Jewish Family Services. Total funding for J-Help last year was $90,000. 

“No cash ever changes hands,” said Kevin Boland, director of social services for JFS. “Even if we are paying someone’s rent, it’s by check.” 

The assistance can also come in the form of bus passes, mortgage payments or a gift card, like a card for Wal-Mart. Clients are told what the card is for (not a TV, alcohol, etc.), and receipts are required. 

To apply for assistance, clients fill out a four-page application and must be ready to talk about what they can do to achieve stability.  

“We get a lot of people who come in one time and there are others who come in two or three times,” Boland said. But assistance does not continue indefinitely, and a JFS caseworker may connect clients with resources to help them get to a more stable situation. 

J-Help has served at least 31 families since January. The Federation earmarked the boost for J-Help after an assessment indicated food insecurity and unemployment were key issues.  

Boland said he’s already seeing a growth in need for J-Help, and he expects it to continue.  

About J-Help 

How to get help:  Call Jewish Family Services at 414-390-5800. 

How to help: Give to The Fund for Jewish MKE at MilwaukeeJewish.org/TheFund