California nuns who tend to San Francisco’s homeless population are in danger of being evicted after their rent recently surged by more than 50 percent.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that the sisters of the Fraternite Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth Soup Kitchen have had a hard time making ends meet after their rent increased Jan. 15 from $3,465 to $5,500 a month.
The sisters’ attorney told KPIX-TV that the landlord had originally given the nuns an ultimatum: pay the higher rate or leave.
"But you have to think to the other people. The people who are suffering and struggling on the street," Sister Mary Benedict told the station. "You have to make money, you can make money, but you have to help the poor people. So you have to find the right balance."
And it seems as though the building’s owner, Nick Patel, might be interested in finding that balance. The landlord’s attorney spoke with KPIX Monday and said that the rent increase has been temporarily suspended and that they plan on meeting with the nuns Thursday.
The soup kitchen is in Tenderloin, one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods, and provides free food to hundreds of homeless every week.
"I don't know what I'd do without them," neighborhood resident Princess Johnson told WPIX. "They're just so nice. And they cook free food for the homeless."
Patel’s attorney said that his client is in India until later this week and will assess the situation when he returns.
The nuns said that they are pleased with the news. They also said that they would eventually like to get a new church and kitchen in order to better meet the needs of the individuals they serve.