Marie Hatch has been living in her Burlingame cottage for more than six decades. The 97-year-old woman was promised she could live there for the rest of her life and now is facing eviction by a new landlord.
She is now fighting to stay in her home with a lawsuit, which was filed Friday by local lawyers who are taking the case on pro bono.
"We have to fight it mentally, and stay strong," said Georgia Rothrock, who is Hatch's roommate. "To be optimistic and take it a day at a time. That's all we can do."
Hatch was not feeling well on Friday to provide comment, but earlier this week said she was losing sleep over the stress.
Hatch earlier this week said 60 years ago her best friend and landlord, Vivian, promised she could live in the home for the rest of her life.
Vivian, her daughter, and granddaughter have since passed away. The home is now owned by a distant relative and wants to sell.
"Vivian promised Marie, gave her this agreement," lawyer Nancy Nishimura said. "You can stay in this house for the rest of your life. That's an oral contract."
Lawyers representing the landlord declined to comment on Friday, but earlier in the week said in a statement the owner was not aware of a lifetime tenancy agreement.
Tim Grazeski lives next door to Hatch. He shares the same landlord and is also being evicted.
Fortunately, he found a new place he can afford down the street, but worries about his friendly neighbor.
"She's a great person and has been a wonderful neighbor," Grazeski said. "We're really sad to see it come down like this."
Hatch's lawyers said they have been overwhelmed with people offering to help the women, some even offering housing. The lawyers said for Hatch's health and happiness, they are trying to keep her in her home.
Nearly $45,000 has been raised on a GoFundMe account for Hatch.