This week in Jerusalem:SEPTEMBER 28,2017

Save the children: Peggy Cidor's round-up of city affairs

REPRESENTATIVES OF the companies that presented at Travel Tech Israel 2017.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
REPRESENTATIVES OF the companies that presented at Travel Tech Israel 2017.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Save the children
Sadly, Jerusalem is home to some 30,000 at-risk youth. Some live at home and go to school; others are drug-addicted teens with mental health issues living on the streets. Municipal social and youth services, together with several NGOs, have been addressing this situation for years, yet despite many successes, the problem remains – and according to the city’s welfare services figures, is growing.
A new approach is under way to tackle this problem, with a trio of municipal groups and dozens of NGOs involved in the care and treatment of youth at risk in Jerusalem. Mayor Nir Barkat identified this issue as a major challenge for the city and in 2015 tapped the Jerusalem Innovation Team (JLM i-team) to create a unified framework based on in-depth research and evaluation, population and organization mapping, cooperation between the city and NGOs, and most importantly, a common goal: the welfare of Jerusalem’s youth.
The “New Youth@Risk Model” is the result of this effort, and was presented to the public and professionals at a conference this past Tuesday at the city’s Shalva Center. The central initiative is the deployment of a new model and unified approach for helping the thousands of at-risk teenagers in the city. The pilot, focused exclusively on homelessness, has identified 192 homeless youngsters and created a cooperative framework in which a single case manager is assigned to each of them to ensure prompt and full treatment.
As a central component of the pilot, three teams were set up:
• The field team, comprised of youth counselors with direct contact with the teens on a day-to-day basis. They know the youths’ names and histories and are able to identify and address challenges.
• The strategic team, made up of municipal administration heads and NGO directors. They create policy and programs and allocate funds based on information from the field.
• The employment team, comprised of all relevant stakeholders, is dedicated to help homeless youth find employment and/or vocational training.
The new youth-at-risk model was implemented at the neighborhood level in the three sectors: general, ultra-Orthodox and Arab.
Founded and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the JLM i-team is a senior consulting group reporting directly to the mayor. It works to tackle strategic city challenges regarding youth at risk, fostering business opportunities and education, building active communities and creating public space. Its unique in-house yet independent status allows it to surmount bureaucratic hurdles and create bridges between departments and organizations for the achievement of common goals.
The JLM i-team uses Bloomberg Philanthropies’ successful innovation framework for solving acute city challenges, based on a data-driven approach, a focus on short processes with maximum impact and innovation within existing bodies.
Jerusalem and the Treasury
Three important decisions by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) will have a positive impact on the city.
Kahlon, who visited the city earlier this week, decided to exempt the Herzog Memorial Hospital (geriatric and mental health) from some of the taxes due to the Israel Lands Authority under his jurisdiction. The decision was taken in view of the fact that there are about 500 persons on a waiting list at all time during the year, and the management (which is nonprofit), planning to expand activities to meet the demand, needed financial aid. Herzog is not financed by the government and relies only on donations.
The second decision was to give to the city 392 square meters around the current Museum of the Italian Community and to turn it into a new cultural complex for the city.
Kahlon’s third action was to designate an area of more than 1,000 square meters near the planned (and already under construction) Menora Complex for Culture that will be used for students’ dorms in the city center.
It is not clear whether these gestures for the city augur a new era of understanding between Kahlon and Barkat, or, perhaps, ironically, whether the competition between the two is responsible for the important and welcome gifts for the city.
All of these additional plots given to the city are tax exempt.