The goal of YEDID's Mobile Citizen Rights and Health Center is to empower and strengthen residents of Israel's socioeconomic and geographic peripheries in the areas of health and social rights. The Center's objectives are to help its clients navigate the national health system; to provide preventative medical services; and to supply information about legal rights and social benefits in the area of health care and other areas (such as housing and National Insurance, to name just two).
From the beginning of March through the end of April, 2013, the Mobile Center ran four Health Days, in Omer, Tel Aviv, Ra'anana, and Or Akiva, serving a total of 420 clients on those days. In addition, the Center provided an additional 139 clients with rights counseling.The most prevalent subjects for which people turned to the center for non-health related issues during this period were matters related to housing, dealing with the National Agency for Debt Collection, and managing with financial hardships and debts that had not yet gone into reposession. Clients served included immigrants and veteran Israelis, Arabs and Jews.
During the period covered by this report, the Mobile Center's staff and volunteers underwent two trainings by lawyers from YEDID's Legal Department, covering legal matters pertaining to housing, labor, and reposessions. The team also joined YEDID's Housing Conference, which it held in Nazareth in April.
Three months ago, a woman, N., turned to the Mobile Center when it was in Carmiel. N. had divorced her violently abusive husband, and was living on her own in poor health and extremely limited income. She had been receiving rental assistance for a year when it was suddenly cut off, with neither warning nor explanation. This left N. to survive off of little more than the 1,600 shekels a month she was receiving from Social Services. She has no family to help her, and she does not speak Hebrew.
When N. tried to get answers from the mortgage company about why her rental assistance had been cut off, they said they would look into the matter. Weeks went by, and she heard nothing from them. In the meantime, her financial situation became desperate, and her landlord was threatening to evict her from her home. She returned to the Mobile Center again in April, this time in panic.
The Center Director immediately called the mortgage company and got answers right away, which is infuriating, when one thinks about it - if they could answer the Center Director, why could they not answer N.? The company said it needed a divorce document from the Sha'aria court to prove N.'s marital status. The Center Director and a translator accompanied N. to the Sha'aria court in Acre, and the documents were ready a few days later. The Center Director submitted them directly to the Ministry of Housing in Nazareth Ilit in order to speed up the process. After a week, the Mobile Center received news that N.'s rental assistance had been reinstated, including three retroactive payments. N. can finally breathe again. She has paid her rent and continues to live securely in her home.
On behalf of YEDID's staff, volunteers, and clients, I thank our supporters for their partnership. The immediate and essential assistance that the center provides to individuals across the country could never happen without your help. Thank you so much!
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