Oct 2005 Journal

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Assisted Living Scheme: AJR in talks on new home initiative

As part of its long-term commitment to providing services to its members, the AJR is part-sponsoring a joint initiative to build a new housing facility specifically for members of the AJR and other organisations which represent Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

Some of the money for the Assisted Living Scheme will be paid out of the monies realised by OSHA (Otto Schiff Housing Association) from the sale of Eleanor Rathbone and Heinrich Stahl Houses in north London. The proceeds of these sales - including £10 million from the sale of Heinrich Stahl House alone - have to be re-invested in a similar project within three years to retain funding from the Housing Corporation. Money for the building of Eleanor Rathbone and Heinrich Stahl Houses originally came via the Claims Conference from the heirless German assets of Holocaust victims.

There is a site in Golders Green - a central location with easy access to transport - which has already been identified as a possible location for the new home.

Although unconfirmed, the new housing complex will be mainly one-bedroom flats, including a sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and private front door.

It is envisaged that the new facility will consist of 50 flats with a mixed tenure; some would be made available to rent and others for sale. As with other welfare schemes the AJR operates, the intention is to provide a service that will help our members to live in their own homes and to avoid the need for residential care.

The plans also include a restaurant, hairdresser and communal room. In addition, it is expected that there will be some recreational activities within the building and there are plans for gardens to be included as well.

The working party overseeing the project, consisting of representatives from OSHA, AJR and Jewish Care, together with lay professionals, is now in the process of finding a housing association with the necessary expertise which will partner the project and can obtain funds from local authorities. The expected timescale for completion of the project is three to four years.

Work has now begun to ascertain the level of interest among members of the relevant Holocaust survivor and refugee organisations to take up the opportunity to live in the complex. In accordance with local authority criteria, eligibility for ownership of a property is not limited to age and each application has to be considered on its own merits.

David Rothenberg, AJR's Vice-Chairman and a member of the Assisted Living Scheme working party, said: 'The AJR is delighted to participate in this important scheme that will bring enormous benefit to many of our members. It is a project of the greatest importance and we are making every effort to ensure the facility is available as soon as possible.'

Research conducted by the Holocaust Survivors Centre (part of Jewish Care) indicated that they are aware of about 70 people who would like to be considered for accommodation. The AJR is now concerned to learn from its own members their interest in this project and how many members might like to be considered for one of the new flats.

Information on developments regarding the Assisted Living Scheme will appear in future editions of the AJR Journal.

In order for the AJR to keep full and clear records, if you would like to register your interest in the Assisted Living Scheme please write to Mrs Estelle Brookner at the AJR or email her at socialsec@ajr.org.uk.

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