Our Story

The Family Link is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency which has served San Francisco since 1985. We are one of the original “San Francisco Model” AIDS Service Organizations founded in response to the burgeoning AIDS epidemic, to fill a need that remains unique and urgent more than three decades later: providing safe, supportive, affordable, home-like accommodations that allow low-income family members to come to San Francisco and care for loved ones with AIDS, COVID-19, and other life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

Sister Ruth was born Norma Diane Hall on June 29, 1949 in Liverpool, England. Growing up in a Quaker family, she felt called to a religious life. In her teens she investigated various senominations, and joined the Anglican church. After college she moved to Southern England and when she turned 21 in 1970 she joined the Community of St. Francis (CSF). She went to San Francisco in 1974 as part of the group who founded the American Province of the CSF. By 1985, amidst the AIDS pandemic, sister Ruth and the late Ray Cope had rented an apartment, recruited a board of directors, obtained nonprofit status and she was networking with hospital and hospice social workers to identify and serve unhoused visitors.

For nearly 40 years, Sister Ruth welcomed thousands of guests from around the world, making lasting friendships. She was there 24/7, ensuring that guests were fed, comforted, counseled, and cared for.

Join Us

The Family Link’s lovely Edwardian villa has become a home away from home for so many people, for whatever time they needed it.