A group of formerly homeless mothers who occupied a vacant house in Oakland declared victory Monday after city officials announced plans to purchase the property through a land trust.
The mothers, who generated widespread attention as a symbol of the lack of affordability in the Bay Area under the moniker Moms 4 Housing, took over the house for almost two months before being evicted by sheriff’s deputies last week.
The home at 2928 Magnolia St. is owned by real estate investment firm, Wedgewood Properties, which buys and resells hundreds of properties in the Bay Area and elsewhere.
Under the deal announced by the Oakland Mayor’s Office, Wedgewood Properties has agreed to negotiate the sale of the house to an affordable housing nonprofit called the Oakland Community Land Trust.
“This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community,” Dominique Walker, one of the mothers, said in a statement issued on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“Today we honor Dr. King’s radical legacy by taking Oakland back from the big banks and corporations,” Walker said. “Thank you to our supporters, who stood by us every step of the way. We can’t wait to get back to Moms’ House and keep building this movement with you.”
According to the Mayor’s Office, Wedgewood Properties has also agreed to negotiate a right of first refusal program with the city for all of its properties in Oakland, and to hire apprentices from Oakland youth programs for its renovation projects.
In a statement, Wedgewood Properties spokesperson Sam Singer said the agreement is the result of discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilman Larry Reid.
“We are honored and inspired to collaborate with the City of Oakland on reasonable, thoughtful and organized actions to address the issue of homelessness and housing,” said Singer, who also referred to the situation as an “illegal occupation.”
Oakland city officials including Council President Rebecca Kaplan and Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas had called upon Wedgewood Properties in recent weeks to negotiate a deal with the Oakland Community Land Trust.