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Social Services

To consult with a social worker about resources or services, please call the Social Services Department at 213-473-3035. More information about our programs and community resources are available in our newsletter, which is published quarterly in English and Japanese.

Little Tokyo Service Center has a staff of more than a dozen experienced social workers who assist senior citizens and low-income residents of Little Tokyo and surrounding areas, as well as people of all ages in the broader Japanese American community throughout Los Angeles County. The services include help with Social Security, Medicare and Medi-Cal, as well as information & referral, counseling and case management services. In addition to English and Japanese, the other languages spoken include Korean, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin.

LTSC recently opened a satellite office in Gardena to provide social services in the South Bay. Located on the 2nd floor of the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, walk-in hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to noon. Consultations at other times are available by appointment. Please call 310-819-8659 to speak with someone or to request an appointment.


In 1979, when LTSC opened its doors, the primary activity was providing social services to the Issei (Japanese-speaking first generation immigrants) who needed help in dealing with the activities of daily living, and in navigating often complicated systems of government services. Limited English proficiency was a major barriers in a wide range of activities, from transportation, to paying utility bills and to obtaining earned government benefits.

Over the years, as the community changed, LTSC made changes to live up to its goal of helping people and building community through meeting the unmet needs of all who needed assistance. We continue to assist the Japanese-speaking elderly, but also assist the growing number of Korean seniors in Little Tokyo.

Far East Lounge

Welcome to "Far East Lounge" in the Heart of Little Tokyo!

[ Far East Lounge Website ]

[ Video on the Far East Lounge ]

The Far East Lounge is a gathering place for seniors and others! Located in the historic Far East Building at 353 East First Street, it's a multi-purpose gathering place for "hanging out," relaxing, and meeting interesting people of all ages. Come and watch your favorite shows on high-definition television or see movies Far East Lounge imageon a large projection screen. Far East Lounge is a project of Little Tokyo Service Center.

If hanging out, sipping coffee or tea, watching people walking through Little Tokyo, is not "your thing," come to take arts & crafts lessons, learn to speak another language (English, Japanese, Korean, etc.), or keep your mind active by learning computer skills, photography, video and other activities.

We're never too old to learn something new! At the Far East Lounge, there will also be workshops on Caregiving Stress, Social Security & Medicare, Memory Retention, Scams Against Elders, and lots of other topics.

Financial Education for Seniors

“Avoid Scams and Plan Wisely”

Have you ever been a victim of financial scams? Do you know someone who experienced identity theft? Older adults are prime targets for financial exploitation both by persons they know and trust, as well as by strangers. In many Asian and other immigrant communities, the epidemic of financial elder abuse remains under the radar.

Because it is difficult to investigate and prosecute these crimes, awareness and prevention is the first step. In October 2013, LTSC sponsored a seminar to inform Asian American seniors and their caregivers about ways to avoid scams that target older people and measures to prevent identity theft. The program, attended by close to 300 people and presented in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, was made possible through major funding from Citi Community Development.

Since then, several follow-up workshops have been held on other financial education topics such as Long Term-Care and LTC insurance; Living Trusts; and Living Alone in Late Life. LTSC’s social workers also provide individual case management and advice on financial matters to low and moderate-income seniors in our communities.

In addition to workshops, LTSC has been collaborating with the Financial Planning Association of Los Angeles (FPA LA), to conducted One-on-One Counseling Sessions for our clients to speak with a Certified Financial Planner individually for 45 minute sessions. FPA LA has helped to recruit the volunteers, while LTSC staff are there to help provide translation for the monoligual clients who may need the additional assistance.

What are some examples of financial exploitation to be aware of?

•    Theft of money or property, often by a caregiver or in-home helper
•    Investment fraud and scams, including deceptive “free-lunch seminars” selling unnecessary or fraudulent financial services or products
•    Lottery and sweepstakes scams
•    Scams by telemarketers, mail offers or door-to-door salespersons
•    Computer and Internet scams
•    Identity theft
•    Reverse mortgage fraud
•    Contractor fraud and home improvement scams
•    Exploitation by an agent under Power of Attorney or person in a fiduciary relationship

For more information or assistance, please contact 213-473-3035.

Program funded by

citi community development logo


LTSC conducts outreach and education to increase awareness mental health services by Japanese and Japanese American families and individuals when they are needed. A part of that work involves overcoming social stigma and developing an awareness of tools and resources for counseling, support groups and educational workshops. Our counselors provide culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate services to the Japanese American community throughout Southern California and uses a variety of therapies that cut through cultural barriers to understanding.

Services are provided on a sliding scale that allows everyone, regardless of income, to receive counseling. In addition to direct services, LTSC also sponsors educational seminars for the general population and service providers.

Support Groups

Will add a support group soon.

Domestic Violence

Japanese Domestic Violence (DV) Victims Support Program

In cooperation with the Japanese Government, LTSC provides special services to Japanese nationals who are victims of DV through services such as:

  • Information and referral(Where can I get help?)
  • Education of DV(What is DV?)
  • Housing information (emergency shelter and transitional shelter)
  • Assistance to create a safety plan(what and how to prepare)
  • Legal referrals (can include help with immigration status)
  • Counseling and case management (can include help applying for public benefits)

Kosumosu Transitional Housing

Kosumosu opened in January of 2003 to provide transitional housing for victims of domestic violence. In addition to a physically and emotionally safe environment, residents also receive job counseling, financial management, counseling and more. Residents become empowered to rebuild new, healthier lives through living together and supporting each other. Services are provided in English, Korean, Mandarin and Japanese.


Nikkei Helpline - 800.645.5341

The Nikkei Helpline is the first crisis hotline for the Japanese American community. Over 40,000 people have called the Nikkei Helpline since its inception in 1984, getting help with everything from immigration, education, and traffic accidents to illness, drug abuse, relationship crises and other emergencies. NHL serves both English and Japanese-speaking community members, although 95% of the calls are now from monolingual Japanese speakers born and raised in Japan.

[ Nikkei Helpline Website ]

Ryugakusei Hotline - 213.473.1630

The Ryugakusei Hotline provides information and referral to Japanese students living in the U.S. weekdays 10 am to 5 pm. There are up to 100,000 such students in Los Angeles at any given time, often feeling isolated and not knowing where to turn. Trained volunteers help with an array of topics including mental health issues, landlord-tenant questions, alcohol and drug concerns, relationship problems, auto accidents, and immigration regulations.

For more information, please visit the Ryugakusei Hotline website.

[ Ryugakusei Hotline Website ]