Letters to the Editor

My name is Julie Iwamoto and I’m here to ask help for my mom, Snooks. For the latest info, please see “Urgency of Funds*” and “In Closing*” for recent updates. If you are visiting for the first time, please continue as I share my mom’s journey and the urgency of help needed.

Snooks is in serious need of help after recently receiving an eviction notice. As the primary caregiver for her husband who had Alzheimer’s for over 10 years (and she herself, later diagnosed with a milder Alzheimer’s), Snooks had to sell her home for financial stability after her husband passed away in 2011. Afterward, a conflict with her family Trust resulted in Snooks losing control of her Trust to a third-party fiduciary. With considerable losses in a long and tumultuous litigation, as well as years of legal, fiduciary and Snooks’ own costs of care, the Trust is completely exhausted and now closed. In the aftermath, Snooks is unable to provide for her housing and care and now facing eviction from her assisted living facility.
Internment Camp
The cover photo at the top of the page is from a contest in which Snooks entered and won “Miss Heart Mountain, Most Beautiful Pin-Up Girl”, back in 1945 when she was 19 years old. While this award, as well as singing in a Japanese mandolin band, were some of the highlights of her younger years, it is difficult to perceive that at just 17 years old, she was one of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent that were evacuated in 1942 and incarcerated in U.S. internment camps.
Snooks and her family were uprooted from their home in Sunnyvale, CA, leaving behind all their belongings and the life her parents had built for their family and worked so hard for after immigrating from Japan. Not knowing where they were going or how they would survive, allowing just one suitcase per person and the clothes on their back, Snooks and her family were extradited to Arcadia, CA, where they spent three nights sleeping in the stables of the Santa Anita Race Track before boarding the train to their designated camp of Heart Mountain, WY. Weathering through the heartbreaking losses and the cold and difficult winters of Wyoming, they made the best of their rural and rustic surroundings, adjusting to this new life in internment camp barracks for the next 3 years.
Recently, Snooks saw some vintage news clips on tv in remembrance of the anniversary of the Japanese internment, and each time she watched, she broke into tears, remembering when they were taken from their homes, leaving everything behind.
A Life-Threatening Experience
In February 2021 at age 95 in the midst of the Covid lockdown, Snooks suffered a severe stroke. The right side of her body from head to toe was left partially paralyzed. Unable to walk or eat solid food, Snooks was now bedridden and fully dependent. The doctors said she may not last another 6 months and she was released into hospice. Life for Snooks changed drastically from being “fully independent” for nearly 8 years in an assisted living facility prior to this inconceivable nightmare.
The obstacles she had to overcome seemed nearly impossible. But fast forward to now, with proper care, a lot of hard work and the help of experienced and compassionate therapists, Snooks graduated from hospice and moved on from the board and care to the assisted living facility where she lives now to start anew and gain back her independence. This truly feels like a miracle!

Urgency of Funds*
Unable to meet the amount due for rent, a notice to Pay or Quit was issued. $16,100 for April through May rent (late fees waived) is due by June 29 to avoid immediate eviction and removal from the premises. However, June and July rents are also due, bringing the total amount to $32,200 needed before July 10. In addition, a recent notice for the annual rent increase arrived, raising the rent to $8,380/mo, effective August 1.

With a higher level of care and expenses since Snooks’ stroke, and as housing and care costs continue to rise, Snooks will be unable to continue in assisted living with her limited social security and pension. Ironically, it is difficult at best to find any type of housing, affordable or otherwise, with a history of eviction on file.

Bottom line:
$16,100 – due by June 29 to avoid Pay or Quit eviction; an additional
$16,100 – due for June & July rent to bring the account current
$32,200 – total rent due before July 10 to avoid eviction and fees

Now more than ever, any help in donations to meet the immediate goal of $16,100 by June 29 to prevent an eviction and forced removal, as well as the additional $16,100 June/July rent before July 10 to avoid a repeating eviction notice (while searching for future housing and care), would mean everything to Snooks.

I’ve been caregiving for both my parents for more than 20 years and assisting along mom’s side daily since her stroke. As Snooks’ daughter and primary caregiver, I will ensure all donations made will provide for Snooks’ housing and care and above all, with your help, keep Snooks safe from eviction.

In Closing*
As shown in a recent photo above, Snooks has been happily content enjoying bingo, crafting, and cheering on her Golden State Warriors while thriving in her assisted living community. These are, however, challenging times and the stress of the circumstances over the years and especially in recent months as situations evolve, has been difficult at best. The stress is definitely taking its toll over time.

As one of the last remaining survivors of Japanese internment camps, It would be devastating for Snooks to have her home taken away again. At 97 years old (almost 98), after all the losses and challenges she has overcome, she would be unable to achieve or survive another comeback.

As the eviction deadline draws near and the rent continues to climb, Snooks is in dire need of resolving her balance to be able to source other options while the account is in good standing. Although assisted living is and has been an environment promoting her best health and wellness for over the past 10 years, she now needs assistance in funding to provide a future home to benefit her safety, her health, and her well being.

I’m asking humbly, can you please help save my mom from eviction so she may celebrate her 98th birthday in July, safe and sound and in a proper home? If you or someone you might know are able to make a donation, no matter how small, please know how much Snooks appreciates and is truly grateful for any and all donations given.

Thank you for your generosity in assistance and caring support, during this urgent and incredibly difficult time of need.

Snooks and Julie

You can donate at https://gofund.me/ea3016b5

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