NewsCovering California

Actions

Campaign to renovate Holocaust survivor's East County home

Campaign to renovate Holocaust survivor's East County home
Posted at 1:23 PM, Oct 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-28 16:24:05-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A campaign is now underway to help a local Holocaust survivor in the East County after a painful discovery about her living conditions.

Last month, Irina Iosefna's daughter, Rina Par—who lives out of state—hired a senior living consultant to help clean out Iosefna’s trailer home. Par suffered a back injury and couldn’t get to the San Diego area. When the consultant, Rose Rugama-Inocente, got a look, the situation was dire.

“It broke my heart. Just wanted to help,” said Rugama.

From the water heater to the stove to the fridge, no appliance was working. On a fixed income, Iosefna spent most of her money on rent for the lot, and not on upkeep.

“The reality is it looked exactly like if she was living in a bombed-out basement,” said Par.

Some eight decades ago, Iosefna's family, who are Jewish, had lived in a bombed-out basement in Kyiv, after her father, drafted by the Russian Army, went missing. He was believed to have been killed by the Nazis.

After emigrating to San Diego and a string of other losses, Iosefna refused to let anyone in her home for more than three decades, including her daughter.

“It’s lifelong trauma … I think trusting people and connecting with people became hard,” said Par.

That has changed in the past few weeks as people have come forward.

“Getting a lot of calls. People are just wanting to help,” said Rugama.

Rugama, now volunteering her time, is overseeing her efforts to gut and renovate the trailer home.

Donations have poured into an online fundraiser. A local contractor, Veloz Framing, has donated materials and labor, while groups like Jewish Family Service have also pitched in.

“I am amazed and grateful,” said Par. “I saw on her face the gratitude and the fact that she is actually really moved, and I think, kind of shocked.”

The renovation is expected to be completed in a few weeks.

"She deserves life to be easy. Her life has been incredibly hard,” said an emotional Par.

Organizers are still in need of various appliances for the trailer home. If you're interested in helping, email Rose@downsizingsd.com.

Jewish Family Service issued the following statement:

Serving Our Survivors (SOS), a program of the Center for Jewish Care at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, offers comprehensive support services to help Holocaust Survivors maintain their health, independence and connection to the community throughout San Diego and Orange County. We offer a full system of support, beginning with care management provided by a trauma-informed specialist. Survivors also may be able to receive assistance with paying for homecare and emergency needs through funding specifically designated for Holocaust Survivors and private donations. We also qualify Survivors for additional services available through JFS and our partners, including groceries, meal delivery, transportation and applying for other government benefits programs.

To learn more, contact Center for Jewish Care at (858) 637-3018 or visit www.centerforjewishcare.org [centerforjewishcare.org].