With support from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, JHELP connects people to social service agencies in the community.
Photos courtesy of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
JHELP connects people to services in the community.
Living alone and planning for upcoming surgery, a local Jewish senior knew he needed help in getting meals while he recovered, but where to turn for help?
Another local family needed some mental health counseling. But with so many uncertainties, who could they call?
A daughter taking care of her elderly mother desperately needed a podiatrist to make a house call, but where to start looking?
All three of these people turned to one place… JHELP, Jewish Detroit’s resource to connecting people to the help they need.
The Detroit Jewish community is fortunate to have many excellent institutions and service agencies that provide everything from preschool, career counseling and mental health services to transportation for the elderly. With support from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, JHELP makes finding help from these social service agencies quick and easy.
This resource is available by phone (1-833-445-4357) or online at jhelp.org. Callers can speak with a specially trained staff member from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and leave a message at other times. There’s also an online chat feature and a way for people to schedule a callback. The confidential service is free and open to anyone in the community — Jewish or not.
The program is based at Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit and overseen by Erica Saum, senior director at JFS, and Randee Black, supervisor of the Resource Center at JFS.
JHELP is a service, not an agency, explains Saum. Specially trained staff answer each of the 30-40 calls a month, assess the person’s situation and direct him or her to the appropriate help.
“We connected the older gentlemen who needed help with meals with the Kosher Meals on Wheels program from NCJW/MI,” Black said. “We met with the family looking for counseling and told them about the services available to them at JFS, Kadima and Sib4Sib. While there are no Jewish service agencies that provide mobile podiatrists, we were able to find a provider in the Jewish community that could help that woman’s mother.”
Many of the calls to JHELP are regarding financial assistance, requests for transportation, employment assistance or help accessing benefits and health care, according to Saum.
As part of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s Teen Mental Health initiative, “We Need to Talk,” (www.wn2t.org), JHELP can also act as a resource for families who need help connecting their teens with a counselor, therapist or other resources.
Adds Black, “As good listeners, we also are trained in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. We know how to explore a hesitant answer — a pause on the phone that signals the need to read between the lines and to dive deeper into a situation. Those kinds of calls are rare, but they can be life-saving.”
JHELP aggregates all the services available to the community on its website, jhelp.org. From finding an inclusive program for children with special needs to caregiver support services, help with rides to the doctor, career services, financial assistance and more, your connections are all on jhelp.org.
More and more people are taking advantage of this one-stop shop to services within the Jewish community. According to Federation Chief Marketing Officer Ted Cohen, in the past seven months the number of page views has increased by more than 43 percent and the number of new users has increased by more than 39 percent.
“We’re all about connecting with people, sharing information and giving them options where to go,” Saum says. “If people have questions about what kind of service is available to them in Detroit’s Jewish community, we have answers.”