Unhoused Korean American Seniors and Korean Americans on The Brink

Here is the Facebook fundraiser https://www.facebook.com/donate/644891902930922/?fundraiser_source=external_url

Fundraising is very important. The total amount needed seems too large. So I focus on one person at a time. It costs about $5 per day, per person to help someone significantly.

Here are the ways that you can help:

  1. Tell five friends to tell five friends to fell five friends about the fundraiser. Even if you don’t donate, sharing is very important. It helps to expand our network. For example, a Korean American social worker reached out to me after seeing the fundraiser. All the seniors who want permanent housing will be assessed and taken into rapid rehousing.
  2. I have covid-19 docs already translated into Korean (and other Asian languages), I have more documents and websites that need to be translated. Email smokingkorean@ gmail.com if you need the documents or can help translate. There are currently three bilingual Korean Americans helping to translate, but we need more.
  3. Delivery assistance. We mostly cover Koreatown and environs. This is our neighborhood pod. If you want to help with Korean language outreach and want our help, we want you to be trained properly. This can be done through zoom. There are safety protocols for both the outreach person and the recipient.
  4. We’re starting another initiative for Korean American children in Koreatown with monolingual or nominally English speaking parents. We’re starting an online workgroup to address this. We will offer online tutoring to groups of 5 Korean American school children starting with 4th graders. One of the families we’re assisting with food aid has a 10 year old girl in 4th grade. Her father is 64 with disabilities and her mother is 57. She was laid off from work a couple of months ago. If you’re interested in tutoring online and helping with materials, please email me.

I will keep updating the information below.

I first met the unhoused Korean seniors on February 16, 2020. I read about them in an American newspaper article in June 2017. I couldn’t do anything about it back then because I was having a lot of issues with landlord harassment. After I started my Skid Row initiatives, I remembered the seniors again and I sent an email to the reverend and a Korean American nonprofit. I got a fast response.

The reverend was at max capacity when I met him. He also has limitations on the kind of help he can offer. His nonprofit is primarily for unhoused men over 65 years old. I know that there are many more Korean Americans who are unhoused or on the brink besides 65 year old men.

Before the lock down in Los Angeles, I submitted for various small grants of $5000 and under. The total amount was $30,000. That was just what I was able to find in a few days. I’m not worried about long term funding. I am a little worried about short term funding until the grant offices open up to face the New Normal. That’s starting to happen a little bit. But grant funds can take 2-3 months or longer to kick in.

Fundraisers also help to tell stories. They change conversations and narratives. I also know that my people mobilize very quickly and we help our own in material and immeasurable ways. This has been an incredibly moving experience for me. Our social trust with each other is very high.