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Iris Canada hospitalized: Sheriff’s notice to vacate sends 100-year-old to ICU; eviction of elders = death

September 14, 2016

San Francisco – Iris Canada, who just turned 100, was hospitalized early yesterday morning, just a day before the sheriff was set to evict her from the Page Street flat that she has called home for over half a century. She is in guarded condition.

Iris Canada, the 100-year-old hero who has been fighting unjust eviction – she has a life tenancy and has met her responsibilities – is resting in the Intensive Care Unit after becoming violently sick upon seeing the eviction notice saying she would be forced to move today. – Photo: Poor News Network

Iris Canada, the 100-year-old hero who has been fighting unjust eviction – she has a life tenancy and has met her responsibilities – is resting in the Intensive Care Unit after becoming violently sick upon seeing the eviction notice saying she would be forced to move today. – Photo: Poor News Network

Ms. Canada, who made national headlines earlier this year with her fight to keep her home, was rushed to the hospital after seeing the sheriff’s notice warning her that she would be locked out of her place on Wednesday, Sept. 14. She became extremely upset, called Peter Owens, one of the owners of her building, and left him a voice mail begging him not to evict her. Then her heart rate accelerated and she was rushed to the emergency room.

For many months, Poor News Network, Senior and Disability Action, Housing Rights Committee and concerned community folk have staged rallies in front of Iris’s home and at the courthouse on McAllister to show their support. The sheriff was supposed to carry out the eviction on Wednesday, but Iris’s advocates reached out to London Breed’s office.

She has been in dialogue with Sheriff Hennessy, who will give Iris more time; however, we don’t know how much time. Iris’ lawyer was able to get a week’s stay. Supervisor Breed says she will continue to put pressure on the sheriff, that she is fighting for Iris Canada as she would for the grandmother who raised her.

Iris Merriouns, Ms. Canada’s niece, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that learning she would have to leave her home triggered this attack. My aunt needs to be left alone to live out the rest of her life in her home. That’s all she wants.”

“As we have seen before, eviction is a health issue,” said Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee, an organizer who has been helping Ms. Canada fight her eviction. “You can’t uproot someone from a home they’ve had for decades and not expect that it will negatively impact their health. This eviction must be stopped.”

Iris Merriouns, Ms. Canada’s niece, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that learning she would have to leave her home triggered this attack. My aunt needs to be left alone to live out the rest of her life in her home. That’s all she wants.”

Tony Robles of Senior and Disability Action, another organizer who has been working to keep Ms. Canada in her home, agreed. “Marie Hatch, a 97-year-old in Burlingame, recently died during her eviction, and years ago, Lola McKay died while being evicted in the Mission. When will people realize that evictions are a serious threat to our health, especially for seniors?”

“As we have seen before, eviction is a health issue,” said Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee. “You can’t uproot someone from a home they’ve had for decades and not expect that it will negatively impact their health. This eviction must be stopped.”

Please act for Iris

We are asking people to send emails urging that Iris be allowed to stay in her home. Write to Peter Owens, owensradisch@gmail.com and theothersideofthesfstory@gmail.com.

Our message is simple:

Iris Canada does not want to leave her home. Her physical reaction to the sheriff’s notice about the scheduled eviction shows that leaving her home will negatively impact her health. She should not be put through the stress of an actual eviction by the sheriff. It could kill her.

Please maintain a non-inflammatory tone in your email, as we do not want to open ourselves up to a harassment complaint.

This story is a composite of reports from Tiny of Poor News Network, at deeandtiny@poormagazine.org, Tony Robles of Senior and Disability Action, at tony@sdaction, Tommi Avacolli Mecca of Housing Rights Committee, at tmecca@hrcsf.org and Supervisor London Breed at Breedstaff@sfgov.org.

9 thoughts on “Iris Canada hospitalized: Sheriff’s notice to vacate sends 100-year-old to ICU; eviction of elders = death

  1. Jordan

    Sorry but this is a clear case. She lost. She could have stayed for life but her family likely wanted to pressure the owners into selling her the place so that they could inherit it. Why does a 99 year old woman need to own her place? SHe could have stayed by agreeing to sign the conversion.

    Reply
  2. Tina

    Jordan, I have to wonder if Iris really understood that all she had to do to be left in peace was sign a piece of paper. I suspect manipulation by greedy relatives.

    Reply
  3. Martha

    This video disturbs me. You can see Iris Merriouns smiling in the very end. I think she wanted this to happen so that she can build a case against Peter Owens and end up with rights to the apartment. Greedy relative she is.

    Reply
  4. blm

    No that is not what happened at all that what you would love the public to beleive. she was a 98 year old that did nothing to deserve this, surrounding by a bunch of callous liers and she had a stroke and could not perticipate in her case, that why she lost anyway and you are quite aware as you are very close to the case and her building harrased her and you following and trollling. You met her when you moved in the building and now you beleive she should go what did she do to deserve this The any of you and why do you beleive you should only have rights in America. She has the same rights just not the underhanded nature of the new commers.

    Reply
  5. blm

    Peter Owens eviceted a 100 year old. And you are suggesting her family wanted to happen. You like Peter Owens who said he would never evict her. He said he loved and cared for her. Stop tolling her you are one of the other owners in the building that do not realize she is a human and you lied and tried to make the public beleive Iris Canada help up the case when it was the law suit that held up the case. I came into the building Dec 9th 2014 and a few of you were shoulting "You can't buy" Stop living in fear if you didn't want to live near black people you should not have moved in the Fiillmore. The new face of capetbagger is Elder Abuser

    Reply
  6. blm

    Take Notice Iris Canada is a free woman, she is not a slave she is allowed to travel and live freely like the next person. A group of people that have come live in the building she has lived in for over 70 years have done everything they can to push out . The feel she is not entiled to the same things in life they are and because she has put up a fuss, and has a family to buffer the greedy barbaric behavior the want to blame her family. But what they can't manage to see. Is they are so obvious . What 97 year old picks up and moves. Do these folks honestly beleive this is true. NO what they count on is the marginialized attitudes that are divided along racial lines. Why are her reletives considered greedy? Did Irisd Canada live in the building before some of them were born, Why can't her reliives honor her wishes and allow her to live in a foot print she has known and has the ability to thrive in, did'nt she purchase a life estate? Did she pay on time, every month doesn't sound like a person who has moved. But and organized lie by multipul people sometimes can seem like the truth, especailly when someone pays 164K for alleged damages of 600, I smell a rat .

    Reply
  7. Desiree

    I can't believe anyone would let their 99 year old frail mother live at home! She would eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and I'm assuming she gets social security and perhaps a pension, plus her FAMILY should be taking care of her financially. This all sounds like a very sketchy family who wanted to cash out when grandma bit the dust and it did't go their way. This woman should be appointed a court ordered guardian to ensure she is safe and she should be moved to a nursing center where she gets the care she needs. I hope this family gets nothing! and that this woman is protected by social services or something.

    Reply
  8. Tina

    From what I understand all she has to do to be left in peace is sign a piece of a paper that allows the building owners to convert the unit to a condo.

    SOMEBODY is advising her not to do that – to the detriment of her health and well-being. What's in it for that person?

    Reply

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