JF&CS News Winter 2011

Ena Feinberg, JF&CS director of New American Services, got the call for help one hot August afternoon. Albert*, an elderly Russian immigrant, was scared and alone in an unfamiliar city. He had arrived in Boston after a long trip and had nowhere to stay. His important papers, including his passport and naturalization documents, were lost or stolen on the journey. Could JF&CS help?

"There are times when people land in the Boston area who have gotten on a bus or a plane for a variety of reasons. Often we are trying to untangle the story of their lives. It is really satisfying and exciting that there is the support from the agency to rally around these complicated cases," said Meredith Joy, director of Basic Needs.

Quickly, Ena went to meet with Albert. Within hours, a compassionate team of five JF&CS experts in mental health, elder services, basic needs, and immigration issues had sprung into action to find a shelter for the night while they learned more about Albert and his situation.

"As staff of this agency, we are expected and supported to go above and beyond to meet the individualized needs of our clients. The culture of the agency is to be able to respond quickly in a personalized and comprehensive way," said Meredith.

The next day the team leader, who navigated all the pieces of this complicated puzzle, began searching for longer-term housing while JF&CS staff members met to review Albert's case, identify his needs, and plan the next steps.

In total, nine staff members worked together to set Albert on a safe and secure path, enlisting the assistance of twelve community agencies.

"This person had nowhere to turn and he came to us. The situation seemed impossible, but we pushed through to find the resources that could help this individual," said Meredith. She continued, "What makes us unique is that we have the services, the community connections, and the expertise in-house to help people in need."

Happily, by the end of the week, Albert's crisis had been resolved. He moved into a shelter where he could comfortably stay until permanent housing was available, and a plan was in place for him to receive free case management from our care management program, Your Elder Experts. More importantly, because of the rapid, compassionate, and knowledgeable care of the JF&CS team, Albert no longer suffered from the fear and anxiety of being homeless and alone in his newly adopted city.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.