Nuns Who Feed the Homeless Face Eviction After Rent Hike

Curry master Ranjan Dey.

Here’s a depressing, infuriating tidbit for you: Two nuns, who’ve served meals to the homeless from their modest Turk Street kitchen since 2008, face eviction after their landlord raised their rent by more than 50 percent.

The Fraternite Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth Soup Kitchen consists of two nuns, who sleep in the small room behind their soup kitchen at 54 Turk Street. As the Chronicle reports, the nuns got word on Jan. 15 that their rent was being hiked from $3,465 to $5,500 a month. On Jan. 29, they received an order to either pay up or get out.

The nuns scrape together a living by selling pastries at farmers markets — but hardly earn enough to meet the new rent. With no prospects for making more money, the nuns count on their pro bono attorney, Daniel Fitzpatrick, to fight the eviction. Fitzpatrick plans to argue that the kitchen is also the nuns’ residence since they sleep in the back room.

Nonprofits forced out of the city are nothing new. In 2014, Bloomberg reported that 2,000 nonprofits in San Francisco, or almost one-quarter of the total, had to leave town or shut down between 2011 and 2013. But there’s something especially poignant and appalling about nuns being pushed out of their soup kitchen. (Especially in light of the city's metastasizing tent encampments and homeless sweeps, the latter of which officials continue to deny.)  

Per the Chronicle, the nuns’ landlord, Nick Patel, is in India this week and has put everything on hold until he returns. Once he’s back, the nuns’ fate will go from being in God’s hands to being in the hands of their attorney.

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