By Morgan Lee
June 4, 2014|1:58 pmAs San Francisco's real estate market continues to heat up, a Christian ministry, which has served one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city for nearly 20 years, has less than a week to raise $500,000 or they will likely lose their facility.
(Photo: Google Maps)Youth with a Mission's San Francisco chapter, which was first established in 1995 and is home to 30 full-time staff and has served more than 15,000 people who've done short-term outreach from its facility, has only five days remaining to raise $500,000 to purchase the buildings it uses in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood. Since it first moved into the buildings, YWAM has tried to purchase the two buildings it works out of, though its landlord declined offers, until last month. "Just a few days ago, we were given notice that another interested buyer offered $3.75 million in cash for both of the buildings. We have the option to buy our buildings before anyone else does because of the conditions stated in our lease. Our landlord has said he will not raise the price for us, even if other bidders raise their offers," a page on its website called "Miracle" stated. YWAM has raised $470,000 for its property acquisition fund, but now, in order to convince its landlord that it actually intends to purchase the building, it must raise an additional $500,000 by June 9. "If we don't purchase our buildings, we will have a new landlord. Our attorney has advised us in the worst case scenario there could be eviction or legal action that could remove us from our facility, which would allow a new landlord to rent it out at more than quadruple the current rate," its website stated. Despite its proximity to downtown, the Tenderloin neighborhood has long been home to San Francisco's most impoverished and vulnerable. As YWAM explains, the neighborhood has recently "become the latest frontier in gentrification, with big companies moving in to buy properties, landlords raising prices sky high, and several nonprofits closing their doors because of unaffordable rent or evictions." A Jones, Lang and LaSalle report from the first quarter of 2014 stated that the city's office rate was at 11.3 percent. "With an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent and 2.4 percent job growth year-over-year, it is clear that the growing tech industry continues to make an impact on the economy. While this is good news for San Francisco and greater tech sector, traditional service industries continue to feel the weight of increased competition and rising prices, prompting some to consider relocating to secondary markets," an analyst for the commercial real state firm wrote. Despite its uphill challenge, YWAM remains hopeful, writing on its website that it believes that "this is a pivotal time in the history of YWAM San Francisco. It is the biggest challenge we personally have ever faced. We are at peace that God, who has never failed, will show forth His greatness and provision." As of press time, the organization had raised $77,953. Those interested in supporting YWAM San Francisco can click here. YWAM ministries exist in other parts of city, including the neighborhood of North Beach and Bay View. The YWAM also runs a food pantry and initiatives focused on reaching the area's homeless, "women facing injustice and exploitation, new immigrants and families." Internationally, YWAM exists in more than 1,100 locations in over 180 countries. The non-denominational Christian organization employs a staff of over 18,000.