Nearly 200 Seniors From Westwood Retirement Home Face Eviction | NBC Southern California

Nearly 200 Seniors From Westwood Retirement Home Face Eviction

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    Emiel Meisel, 92, says he organized the protest because the eviction notices have left seniors stressed out and they want their voices heard. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Published Friday, Dec. 9, 2016)

    Senior citizens living at a Westwood retirement home are now worried about finding new places to live because the new owners of the building plan to renovate the facility.

    Nearly 170 residents who are under rent control at Vintage Westwood received eviction notices from Watermark Retirement Communities that stated they had until March 28, 2017 to move out so the building could be renovated into a luxury, state-licensed living facility.

    The new owners issued a statement saying it won't be safe for the residents to remain during construction.

    "We have determined that there will be too many unavoidable interruptions to power, water, heating/cooling, dining, and other crucial safety systems and services for residents to reside at the community through the process," spokeswoman C. Jill Hofer said in an emailed statement to NBC4.

    The new owners said many residents are eligible and can apply for an extension that will give them up to one year to move out.

    Los Angeles city councilman Paul Koretz said that even though the evictions are legal -- according to the state's Ellis Act, landlords are allowed to remove tenants to go out of the rental market business -- he feels it's wrong to uproot the seniors.

    He met with residents and the new owners Thursday night hoping there could be a way to renovate without evicting.

    Judy Flax, an 87-year-old widow, has been living at Vintage Westwood for the past four years.

    "Everybody's depressed, everybody is complaining," she said. "You never saw so many stressed out people."

    Most residents are upset about having to leave their friends.

    "At this point in time, I don't have many friends left," Ed Friedman said. "I've made wonderful friends here. We’re all gonna be separated."

    Emiel Meisel, 92, plans to organize a protest with his friends, using wheelchairs and walkers if necessary. He stood in front of the building on Tiverton Avenue with an "Ole lives matter sign" and plans to protest every day at 11:30 a.m.

    "If my black and brown brethren can do it, why can't old folks?" he said. "Old folks' lives matter."

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