Schwarzenegger says he will help 102-year-old facing eviction

102-year-old Thelma Smith is being forced out of her California home of nearly 30 years by her landlord, who plans to move his daughter into the residence once she graduates from law school, reports CBS Los Angeles. Many are offering to help, but now the Terminator himself has stepped in.

Former California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted his support of Smith on Friday, along with a Los Angeles Times article on the story. “Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time,” he wrote. “Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless.”

Smith is a retired secretary for the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation and knows Schwarzenegger through his work with the charity, according to the Associated Press. The star vowed to take action.

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“Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he wrote in the tweet. A spokesman told the AP Schwarzenegger’s staff has since met with Smith to find a solution. His representatives have not responded to CBS News’ request for comment.

Smith lost the majority of her family over the years, including her husband, and her remaining family lives on the East Coast.

Her family and friends say her options are limited to moving in with someone nearby or moving into an assisted living facility, which is difficult to do on her fixed income. Smith presently has until June 30 to leave.

“She couldn’t afford it; she would need some assistance from [the] county and other friends to support her in these places,” said family friend Antonio Avelino.

The Los Angeles Times notes that L.A.’s rent control law offers relocation assistance for the elderly and disabled. But Ladera Heights is an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County, just outside the city limits, which means the law doesn’t apply there.

CBS L.A.’s Amy Johnson spoke with the landlord.

“We know legally you can make her leave but 102?  Would you kick out a 102-year-old woman?” Johnson asked.

He replied by saying, “Would you take care of your child?”

In addition to recognition from Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles County is investigating whether the eviction notice violated temporary renter protections approved by lawmakers last fall. Evictions can be stopped or postponed if a landlord fails to comply with the county’s policies, spokesman Keven Chavez told the Los Angeles Times.

A GoFundMe has also been started in Smith’s name, and has raised nearly $4,000 so far. In the meantime, her family and friends are looking for other places for her to live in the area.

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