Unity and perseverance paid off for four homeless moms in West Oakland who had been squatting in a vacant city home since Nov. 18 to protest that housing is “a human right.”
Wedgewood Properties is now allowing the group, Moms4Housing, to legally buy the property on Magnolia Street that they were removed from last week prompting widespread public outcry, according to Dominique Walker, one of the moms and the coordinator for the group, Bay Area station KTVU reported.
A judge ordered the moms evicted on Jan. 10, saying they had no legal claim to the property. They were removed by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies on Jan. 14. But Oakland residents and government officials rallied behind the women and helped to bring about the latest development.
“This is what happens when we organize,” Walker said during a press conference in front of Oakland City Hall, according to KTVU. “When people come together to build the beloved community. Today we honor Dr. King’s radical legacy by taking Oakland back from banks and corporations.”
Walker added she was proud to lead such an important movement.
“People power showed Wedgewood and our mayor that housing is a human right,” Walker said. “We will not stop organizing until all unhoused folks have shelter.”
Sam Singer, a spokesman for Wedgewood, a real estate investment firm, confirmed to news outlets that the home is being sold to the moms. The price has not been negotiated as of yet, but Singer said the house, which was vacant for two years, was purchased by Wedgewood for $501,078 on July 31, 2019. Wedgewood will sell the house at or beneath the appraised price to nonprofit, Oakland Community Land Trust, on behalf of the women.
The mothers say this is just the start. They are pushing a movement to open up vacant homes to the homeless people and to create more affordable housing, according to Carroll Fife, Director of Oakland Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
“The moms fought for all of Oakland,” Fife told KTVU.
Wedgewood is now agreeing to work with Oakland’s Housing and Community Development Department and the Oakland Community Land Trust to offer a first right of refusal program for its portfolio of Oakland properties.