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Lady, 94, will keep in house dwelling of 80 years after eviction try

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – A 94-year-old woman, her caretaker and the other tenants of a San Francisco apartment building managed to fight off an eviction attempt.

Walking into Helen Byrne’s apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District is like taking a trip back in time. She, her two sisters and her father moved in in 1942, the start of World War II, and Byrne has lived there for 80 years.

Over the decades, the apartment has been full of life and, unfortunately, death.

“Wonderful memories – some bad – but most of them, wonderful memories,” Byrne said.

Byrne’s mother died in 1937 before the family moved in. After her father died, she lived in the apartment with her sister and took care of her until she died.

Now, Byrne’s next-door neighbor, Cecilia Matias, is like the daughter she was never able to have.

“She took care of her sister and her father, and now, it’s her turn – for me to take care of her. So, that’s why I want to make sure she stays where she grew up,” Matias said.

Just like her father and sisters, Byrne wants to live the rest of her life in the Mission District apartment. She nearly missed out on that chance when a real estate investor bought the building with a plan to get the current tenants out and raise the rent or sell a vacant building.

But the tenants fought off the eviction attempt. They found out Wednesday they would be able to stay.

“It means the world to me,” Byrne said. “Not just for me but for the other people in the building.”

Byrne and Matias will continue to make special memories in their home, sweet home.

“Humanity is family,” Matias said. “No matter what you see, you don’t have to be blood. We are together. I told her that – thick and thin.”

The property company released a statement explaining their decision to allow the tenants to stay.

“When we learned of 94-year-old Helen Byrne’s long history in this building and saw her new health condition and felt her deep community there, we decided we had to commit to keeping Ms. Byrne and the other residents in their homes,” read the statement in part.

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