San Francisco non-profits face financial crises due to skyrocketing rents

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's affordability crisis is well known. However, it's not just residential rents that are rising, it's commercial real estate as well and that has put the squeeze on non-profits who are finding their rents climbing.

Non-profits are a safety net for thousands of San Francisco residents, but now some of those agencies need a financial lifeline themselves. "We were immune for a while, but our day has come," St. Vincent de Paul employee Margi English said.

With a new hospital rising across the street, St. Vincent de Paul Society expects its rent to also rise substantially when the lease expires next year.

The San Francisco non-profit has been offering food, shelter and other services to the city's most vulnerable since 1860. "It is part of our mission to take care of these populations in need, but we're in need ourselves right now," English said.

It's the same story for other non-profits like Lutheran Social Services who was forced to move from a South of Market building to a space in the Tenderloin.

While the focus has been on residents and the housing affordability crisis, agencies that serve the community are also being squeezed.

"Every minute that we spend worrying about our overhead is one less minute being spent focusing on our client needs," San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim said.

Kim sponsored a mitigation program unanimously passed by the board last year which provides $4.5 million to help non-profits. St Vincent de Paul is applying. Kim believes more needs to be done. "What we as a city are realizing is that we will have to subsidize our non-profits staying here, so we used to fund services. Now we'll have to fund the rent," she said.

Kim said the city is also looking into buying buildings for non-profits and asking developers to provide dedicated space in San Francisco.
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