Rally held for 99-year-old San Francisco woman facing eviction

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A woman has called a San Francisco apartment home for more than half a century. And now, at the age of 99, she's facing eviction. (KGO-TV/Wayne Freedman)

A woman has called a San Francisco apartment home for more than half a century. And now, at the age of 99, she's facing eviction. That woman spent time in court on Tuesday, earned a brief reprieve, and sparked a rally.


Pictures tell stories of families, friends, of more than half a century living in one San Francisco apartment. For Iris Canada, that comfort is now in limbo.

"I love my house," she said. "Everything I got is here."

For that reason, this 99-year-old woman went to a San Francisco housing court on Tuesday. And in so doing, became the latest symbol in a raging battle between longtime San Francisco tenants and landlords who want to cash in on property values.


"It is no longer about profits, but it is about windfall profits," said senior advocate Theresa Flanderich.

The issue for Canada is that owners who want to convert the building on Page Street into condominiums. They formed a tenancy in common more than decade ago, but allowed her to remain in her apartment as long as she lived there alone and paid rent.

Now, they say, she has left; and in so doing, forfeited that right.

"She was not gone," said her great-niece Iris Merriouns. "She went on hiatus with my mother and she traveled and at other times she was hospitalized."


An attorney representing the owners declined to speak with ABC News on Tuesday. He took off down the hall and kept walking. Just before, the court had offered Canada a one-week stay of eviction.

She emerged to find a rally in support of her.

When asked if she understood what is happening, her caretaker Abdul Yansine said, "Very little, very little."

As the crowd got worked up, Canada practically disappeared in the middle of it.


"This woman has a lifetime lease," said Supervisor London Breed. "So that means as long as she is here on earth, she deserves to have the dignity of her home."

As for Iris, she seemed relieved when all of this ended. Her friends loaded her up and took her home, back to the couch where she feels most comfortable; surrounded by memories and watching the news, of which she is now a part, on TV.

Click here for more stories and videos about eviction battles.
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societyhousinghousing marketaffordable housingevictionseniorselderly womanSan Francisco
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