A group of San Francisco nuns who serve the homeless are in danger of becoming as homeless as the downtrodden they serve.
The sisters of the Fraternite Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth Soup Kitchen may lose their space in the Tenderloin District following a rent hike of more than 50 percent. The nuns said they were given a three-day notice last week to pay the increased rent or move out of a place they have called home for the past eight years.
"Pretty soon we will be homeless, too," Sister Mary Valerie said. "That's why we're struggling."
The sisters are worried about being evicted and are trying to find an affordable new place to live and serve the community. In January, the landlord increased rent from $3,400 a month to $5,500.
Attempts to reach the lawyer representing the landlord for comment were not returned Tuesday.
Sister Mary Valerie said she is praying for another alternative, but said rent prices throughout the city are too high.
Since founding their soup kitchen in one of the scruffiest stretches of the poorest neighborhood the city, the sisters have expanded to feeding lunch to 300 people three times a week, and dinner to 500 people twice a week.
"The idea of not giving them another lease at some sort of reasonable increase is crazy talk," said Neil Dry, who was accepting food from the soup kitchen on Tuesday.
The sisters make ends meet through donations and selling baked goods at local farmers markets. And when they are not cooking, the sisters often council people in the neighborhood.
"Many people need some help. Nobody knows what's happening in the future," Valerie said. "Anybody can be homeless and they need some support and pushing."
The lawyer representing the nuns said the eviction is on hold until the building owner returns to the United States after a trip overseas. A meeting regarding the eviction is scheduled for later this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.