TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 2,500 children in Israel and the wider Middle East who were facing a host of social and other problems have received help through a special programme and got their lives back on track, one of Israel's leading charitable foundations has announced.
The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation, which is financing the endeavour and works with partner agencies on the ground to assist those in need, said many of the young people in need were facing problems at home resulting in them having to walk out without being able to ever return.
Homelessness in Israel alone has been on the rise since the pandemic began, as people lost their jobs and income and were unable to pay their rent or mortgages. The number of people sleeping on the streets of Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities leaped by 27% in 2020, according to the most recent figures from the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry.
Knesset Research and Information Center, a parliamentary resource body, found in 2010 that local Israeli authorities were failing the country's homeless population, providing only 227 beds for people around the country. Since then, just 24 beds had been added, for a national total of 251, according to an investigation in February this year by the Haaretz newspaper.
Meanwhile, Elem, a charity working with young people in distress, says that of Israel's almost 800,000 teenagers, 25% of them (200,000) are at risk and some have suicidal tendencies.
Other problems facing Israeli, Palestinian and children from nearby Middle Easter nations concerned health issues they had been battling but had been unable to receive medical assistance, because of a lack of funds. And, the foundation said, some at-risk children were living in poverty, with their families unable to afford to properly feed, clothe or educate them.
The foundation, which works across social issues, education, health and the arts, said the two-year-long Covid pandemic had exacerbated many societal and other problems in Israel, the Palestinian territories and surrounding countries, leaving many people with nowhere to turn for help.
It provides assistance to people regardless of their religion or race, and since its establishment in 2007 has gone on to become one of the main charitable foundations in Israel.
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William Furney, Reachology
SOURCE The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation