April 2021 Issue
For 40 years, LTSC has been strengthening our community through various programs and projects. Our strong foundation of serving the community enables us to pivot during trying times like the pandemic, economic downturn, and upsurge in violence against the AAPI community.
LTSC Works to Ensure the Safety and Wellbeing of the Community
Though LTSC’s history is rooted in supporting the Japanese American community, as the organization grew and expanded its services, so did the community which LTSC served. Today, our services and projects support more than just the AAPI community and Little Tokyo, but our work remains rooted in supporting the vulnerable.
The recent uptick in hate crimes against the AAPI community, especially seniors, is extremely sad, disappointing, and unacceptable- and we have been working with other organizations in our community to find solutions which will keep our neighborhood safe.
It is unfortunate that the current circumstances of our nation have led to this need, but thanks to preexisting senior wellness programs, LTSC was able to pivot quickly, to offer programs which would help protect our seniors. We started by educating seniors, providing them with safety tips as well as self defense classes. As we work with other organizations to come up with more ways in which we can ensure the safety of our community, we continue to believe that by building strong communities, we can keep the evil out of our neighborhoods.
Stan Yogi has been volunteering with LTSC’s Resident Services program for almost a year, helping with food pantry and produce deliveries to our residents in our affordable housing units. Thanks to the support from volunteers like Stan, we’ve been able to help keep families safe by bringing them fresh produce and food items.
What motivated you to volunteer with LTSC?
A few things: First, there was a need, and I was able to fill that need in a small way, along with other volunteers. Second, I live about a mile away from LTSC, and my schedule is flexible. So it was very convenient for me to volunteer. And third, probably most importantly, what I knew about LTSC’s programs was very positive.
You’ve been a dedicated volunteer for quite some time now- what keeps you coming back?
Having volunteered now for almost a year, I’ve been deeply impressed and grateful for the work that LTSC is doing, especially during the pandemic. The strategic and really effective ways that LTSC is addressing the needs of its residents and the broader community, both people who live in Little Tokyo and small businesses, is really impressive. So that’s just motivated me even more to continue volunteering, knowing the impact that LTSC is having in the community.
Having volunteered with us now, meeting some of our residents face to face, and working with some of our staff, what was that experience like? Getting to build community with our organization?
It’s been fantastic! It’s been great to get to know and work with David, Gilda, Nancy, and the resident services program, as well as Margaret, Vivian and others in social services. Everyone is super dedicated. Things are easing up now with vaccines, but when I started volunteering, there were no vaccines. I was very moved by how the LTSC staff stepped up to address the immediate needs of residents and community members. It’s just been wonderful to be a small, small part of the LTSC community, and to be inspired by the dedication and really strategic thinking of LTSC’s staff.
What would you say to someone who’s interested in volunteering with LTSC?
If you have the time and energy, raise your hand and sign up. It’s not a huge time commitment. LTSC makes it super easy to contribute and make a difference in the community.
If you or someone you know is interested in supporting Little Tokyo’s small businesses, please consider signing up as a volunteer or donating!
LTSC Names Debbie Chen as Director of Real Estate Development
LTSC is happy to announce that Debbie Chen is our new Director of Real Estate Development. Debbie has been with LTSC for three years most recently serving as Senior Project Manager. “We are very excited to have Debbie as our new Director of Real Estate Development,” said Erich Nakano, Executive Director. “Her knowledge of affordable housing development and commitment to underserved communities will help us create many more new homes and communities for people in need.”
Prior to joining LTSC, Debbie was the Community Planner and Project Manager at the Asian Community Development Corporation, based in Boston’s Chinatown, where she oversaw the completion of several housing projects. “Boston’s loss is Los Angeles’ gain,” said Takao Suzuki, Director of Community Development. “With Debbie’s prior experience and the knowledge she has gained about how affordable housing gets built in Los Angeles, we are looking forward to many grand opening ceremonies.”
“I hope to be a part of finding creative ways to build community assets and address the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles,” said Debbie. “With over 600 pipeline units, in the coming years we will provide families, veterans and the formerly homeless with safe and stable housing.”
Debbie has served as project lead for two projects in predevelopment in Little Tokyo and one in East Hollywood. The Go For Broke Apartment project with partner Go For Broke National Educational Center project was recently expanded to over 200 units and will include space for extensive community uses on the ground floor. The Santa Monica and Vermont Center project is a mixed use, 187 unit affordable housing project at the Metro station. “This project is the first of its kind– a highly dense, transit enhancing, 100% affordable and green development based on a vision co-created with community stakeholders in East Hollywood,” explained Debbie. “This is LTSC’s largest project so far and will preserve and enrich the surrounding community with improvements beyond the housing.”
Debbie helped develop the LA County CLT pilot program, is overseeing a community land trust acquisition in East Los Angeles and project managing a Southeast Asian-style food hall project at the Hollywood/Western Metro station. With these projects LTSC is fulfilling its mission of uplifting communities of color throughout Los Angeles.
Latest Updates in the Crocker Affordable Housing Development
LTSC’s newest affordable housing project in Little Tokyo continues to move forward. On the site of the former Umeya Rice Cracker Factory, the 100% affordable, 7-story mixed use development will offer 175 affordable housing units, of which half will be for permanent supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing is a proven and effective way to combat homelessness, by providing housing and support services to the chronically unhoused.
Renderings for the new housing development have been complete, and we invite you to take a 3D virtual tour of the Crocker Apartments below!
Archstone Foundations helps LTSC build its capacity to serve seniors.
LTSC recently received a grant from Archstone Foundation to increase its capacity to serve older adults. Established in 1986, Archstone Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation whose mission is to prepare society for the growing needs of an aging society. Under the leadership of Christopher A. Langston, President and CEO, Archstone grants up to $5 million annually, primarily in Southern California.
Archstone Foundation provides capacity building grants to assist nonprofits achieve new levels of effectiveness. With this support LTSC will be able to complete a move of its client case files to a cloud-based system. “COVID-19 underscored the need to easily access client information when we are not physically in the office,” said Amy Phillips, the social worker who is coordinating the implementation of the new system. The new online client database will make it easier to track clients, generate reports and see trends in service needs. Social workers and care managers will be able to access the information they need wherever they have an Internet connection. Thank you to Archstone Foundation for helping LTSC serve older adults throughout Los Angeles.
Established in 1986, Archstone Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation whose mission is to prepare society for the growing needs of an aging society. Under the leadership of Christopher A. Langston, President and CEO, Archstone grants up to $5 million annually, primarily in Southern California.
Welcome (Back) to Little Tokyo
With the vaccine rollout underway and restrictions loosening, it’s been great seeing people come back to Little Tokyo to eat, shop, and play! With that being said, please be mindful of others and try to practice social distancing as much as possible. The pandemic is not over yet, and we need everyone’s help to ensure the safety of our community. Please stay safe and healthy
Illustrations by Lisa Aihara
Changing Tides Launches their Podcast
Last month, Changing Tides launched their podcast! In the podcast, they’ve invited a variety of guests to chat about their lives, work, and mental health journeys, with the goal of encouraging these open conversations about mental well-being. Episodes will be released every other Tuesday at midnight, and will be available on YouTube, Spotify, Anchor, and Apple Podcasts.
Click the HERE to listen to the podcast!
Terasaki Budokan Children’s Wall Update
The Terasaki Budokan team has been working diligently through the pandemic to complete the Children’s wall located on the terrace adjacent to the children’s playground. Here is a sneak peak of the wall that has been painted and the larger design pieces installed. The last phase is to install over 400 tiles with the names on it. This was one of the final campaigns that we launched in order to finish out the fundraising campaign and we were able to raise over $90,000 for Terasaki Budokan. Thank you to all of our donors!
Its not too late to have your (grand)child’s name on the wall. Click HERE to purchase a tile.
Judge and Board Member Akemi Arakaki wins Public Service Award
The Honorable Akemi Arakaki, a Judge on the LA Superior Court and a cherished LTSC board member of 12 years, received the Public Service Award at APAWLA (Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance)’s Virtual Installation event last week. LTSC is honored to have inspirational, virtuous and diligent leaders like Akemi on our Board of Directors. Congratulations Akemi!
LTSC Partners with Adventist White Memorial Hospital to Host Vaccine Clinic in Little Tokyo
LTSC partnered with Adventist Health White Memorial to bring a mobile vaccination clinic to Little Tokyo on March 30. Adventist Health provided the vaccines and staff to inoculate our community members, while LTSC conducted outreach in various languages to local businesses, organizations, and residents to get the word out and pre-register people for the vaccination. Together, we successfully vaccinated over 200 people in the community! Addressing this public health inequity strengthens the community’s safety and supports the re-opening of the local small businesses that are the lifeblood of this historic neighborhood. LTSC is proud to partner with its neighbor in Boyle Heights, Adventist Health White Memorial, to support marginalized communities of color.
A3M & Be The Match Virtual Walk+Run
The A3M & Be The Match Virtual Walk+Run unites communities across the US in support of helping patients in need of a blood stem cell transplant. This year we invite you to participate from home and go the distance of 5K your way! From May 16–21 complete your 5K by walking, running, biking or even skating! Whether you complete the 5K over the week or all at once, your support as a race participant will help create miracles for patients in need!
Click HERE to participate and save a life!
Sake on the Rocks Couch
LTSC’s annual Sake on the Rocks fundraiser is going VIRTUAL! Save the date so you don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event!
This year’s Sake on the Rocks Couch will feature a unique online platform, real-time mingling, live program elements, virtual experiences, sake tasting at home, and much more! More information coming soon: www.ltsc.org/sake
March 2021 Donors
Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Add your name to the list by making a DONATION today.
Ceping Chao and Gary Busteed
Samantha de Castro
Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen
Grace and Ken Frantz
Myron Gee and Ann Ogawa Gee
Kambara Family Fund
Ken and Karen Kawaguchi
Charles and Jean Kuniyoshi
Myung Wan Lee
Gary and June Masada
Diana and Yoshi Matsushima
Robert and Teresa Matsushima
Microsoft Rewards / Give with Bing
Mike Murase and June Hibino
Michael and Margie Odanaka
Victor Okada and Candace Lao
John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto
John and Irene Ota
PayPal Giving Fund
Margaret and Ken Shimada
Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda
Kelly and Rintaro Takasu
Marsha and Gary Watanabe
Who What Wear
Lesley and Russell Wong
Ken and Sandy Yamashiro
Yoshinoya America Inc
In Honor of Atlanta shooting Victims and survivors
In Honor of Nikki Green
In Honor of Brian Hamasaki’s birthday
Jo Ann Hamasaki
In Honor of Megan Teramoto
In Honor of Kate Tucci
In Honor of Emily Weaver
In Memory of Delcey Kawasaki
In Memory of Robert Matsumoto
In Memory of Mitsue Nishio
In Memory of Sumie Numaguchi
In Memory of Merilynne Quon
Linda and Richard Don
Steve and Patty Nagano
In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson
Emily and Dan Weaver
In Memory of Yoshiaki Shimizu
Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki
Deanna L. Atkinson
The Kito Family, FUGETSU-DO
Norman and Mardy Maehara
Jason and Rachelle Samson
Jayne and Gideon Young Family
Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts
In Memory of Misako Fujisawa
Kimianne and Virgil Thomas
In Memory of Delcey Kawasaki
Sadie and Augie Medina
In Memory of Dean Matsubayashi
Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M)
B & B Toy Maker Inc.
Hosoda Bros. Inc.
Jungle Merch, LLC
Diana and Yoshi Matsushima
Marsha and Gary Watanabe