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 November 2013 through the beginning of February 2014, the Mobile Center provided 127 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 debt and repossessions (42%), issues concerning public housing (20%) and mortgages, and problems with the National Insurance Institute (12%). Clients served included immigrants and veteran Israelis, Arabs and Jews. The following story provides a recent example of YEDID's work.
Alex, a new immigrant from Russia, came to the Mobile Center while it was stationed in Carmiel; he was homeless, with no job or any sort of income. He spent every day wandering aimlessly around town, and spent each night at a different friend's house. This went on for five years.
Alex didn't understand Hebrew, and had no knowledge of his rights. A number of years ago he approached Welfare Services in Carmiel to try and better his situation. However, due to difficulties in communicating with him, Welfare Services dropped Alex's case, and Alex was left frustrated and despondent. However, when a friend told Alex about YEDID, he decided to approach us for assistance. We began by going with Alex to the Employment Bureau and helped him register there. At the same time, we accompanied him to the offices of the National Insurance Institute, the to apply for income support. Alex had to go through a complex bureaucratic process, and bring many certifications and affidavits, as a result of having an apartment under his name from the time of his marriage - we accompanied him and aided him throughout the entire process.
In a short amount of time, the application for income support was approved, and Alex began to receive his stipend on a regular basis. After years of wandering, Alex has begun to feel a sense of permanence. Today, Alex rents an apartment on his own, and is looking into Ulpan programs to learn Hebrew. Now that his financial situation has become more stable, he feels less pressured, and has even started talking to his friends about jobs that he's interested in.
The Mobile Center's plans for the coming months are to continue running Health Days, to recruit more volunteers with specific skills such as fluency in Arabic and Russian, and professional experience in relevant fields. Thanks to a generous donation, we are planning to increase the Mobile Center's operation from three to six times a week! An increase in days will allow us to access and assist more clients in Israel's underserved peripheries.
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!