A struggle that began more than six years ago has reached a defining moment with six seniors facing eviction from the Sakura Gardens Intermediate Care Facility in Boyle Heights on Aug. 23.
In an open letter to Gene Kanamori, CEO of the Keiro Board, and the other board members, Koreisha Senior Care and Advocacy has issued a plea for humanitarian assistance for the remaining ICF residents.
Former Keiro ICF Residents at Grave Risk
We write to you at this time of imminent closure of Sakura Intermediate Care Facility. ICF is slated to close on Aug. 23, 2021.
The residents, who are frail and of considerable age in their 80s, 90s and 100-plus years, and their families have been pressured relentlessly in the recent weeks to leave the facility. The original 97 members have now been reduced to six seniors for whom an affordable facility with Japanese services, including language and foods, does not exist. The difficulties of the situation are placing the elderly under extreme distress.
As concerned members of the community, we request the Keiro Board to provide monetary assistance to these residents in order for them to relocate to a safe environment where they can receive necessary care for their remaining years.
With the pending closure of Sakura ICF, we ask that you grant each of the remaining six residents a sum of at least $100,000 to cover the cost of their stay at an alternative senior facility. These residents do not have a home to return to and given the current cost of facility-based care, this sum of money would cover approximately one-and-a-half years’ stay at a facility.
Sakura ICF residents entered the facility trusting that they would be cared for the rest of their lives and they sold their homes and assets in order to receive such care. They stood by helplessly when the facility was sold, and again this time, they are experiencing devastation over the new owner’s decision to convert the building into an apartment complex for profit.
You have given grants to senior programs in the Japanese community and have distributed foods and PPEs to residents and staff of the former Keiro senior facilities.
Your financial assistance to the six lives will make a difference in the quality of the care they will receive going forward. We highly recommend that you recover their trust by taking this compassionate measure.
We hope to receive your immediate response as this is a critically urgent matter facing the residents.
Koreisha Senior Care & Advocacy
John Kanai, President
Keiko Ikeda, Ph.D., Vice President
Michael Toji, family member of ICF resident
Shinkichi Koyama, Southern California Gardeners’ Federation
Seiji Horio, Southern California Gardeners’ Federation
Kyoko Watanabe, Japanese Welfare Rights Organization
Takeshi Matsumoto, M.D.
Kenji Irie, M.D.
Ford Kuramoto, DSW
Daniel Mayeda, attorney