SAN FRANCISCO—Iris Canada, a 100 year-old woman who was evicted out of her San Francisco home a month ago, died on Tuesday, March 28 after suffering from a stroke. Canada lived in the Western Addition home on Page Street since the 1960s before she was evicted last month. Local authorities acted on the court’s orders of Iris’ eviction, changing her locks and leaving several of her belongings inside, including her wheelchair, the family of Canada claimed.
After Canada refused to sign papers agreeing to change the six unit building into condominiums, the landlords took her to court. They alleged that Iris was in violation of the ‘life estate agreement’ which required her to live in the house, in her own independent capacity. The landlords told the court that Iris did not live in the disputed home at all, and that she was living in the care of her niece in Oakland due to her frail health conditions. Iris’ niece, Iris Merriounsin denied the allegation and asserted that Canada was still living in her SF home.
Last April, a judge ruled in the favor of the landowners, terminating Canada’s life estate agreement. The judge also ordered Canada to pay up $150,000 in attorney’s fees. When Iris failed to pay the amount, the courts formally ordered her eviction.
Canada’s family believes that it was the struggle and trauma of losing her home that made her sick and led to her death.
“Iris Canada was betrayed by all the systems that were supposed to protect her. She would have lived longer had she not had to suffer so much. It was such a long, arduous fight,” said Iris Merriouns to the Guardian on Tuesday.
A vigil was held by Canada’s supporters honoring her life and struggle for a home. The vigil gathered a crowd, as Iris became a symbol for SF’s housing struggle.