Oakland (USA): Moms for Housing Respond to Eviction Notice

On November 18th, a group of mothers without shelter reclaimed possession of a vacant investor-owned property in West Oakland. They have been living in the home with their children and rehabilitating the property ever since. On December 3rd they received an eviction notice from Wedgewood Inc, the company that has been holding 2928 Magnolia St. vacant during a housing crisis. The eviction notice named the previous owner of the house, not the Moms for Housing.

“Wedgewood wants to pretend we don’t exist, that their actions don’t have real-life consequences for Oaklanders,” said Dominique Walker, one of the Moms for Housing and a resident of 2928 Magnolia St. “We’ve had hundreds of our supporters calling and emailing them. We’ve sent letters from ourselves and supporting organizations. But Wedgewood has refused to sit down with us to talk. Instead of negotiating with us in good faith, they hired a ‘crisis communications’ firm and sent an eviction notice to someone who doesn’t even live here.”

The Moms shared the eviction notice on their Twitter account at @moms4housing and announced that the sheriff would be coming on December 17th to evict them. They called on all community supporters to come to 2928 Magnolia St. on the 17th to defend Moms for Housing. Further details to be announced on social media and at moms4housing.org.

“It’s time for the City of Oakland to adequately address the unique and critical needs that families with young children require,” said Clarissa Doutherd, executive director of Parent Voices Oakland. “Safe and deeply affordable housing is critical to the health and well being of children. This needs to be a priority for City leaders. It is cruel to deny the basic rights of families, who risk separation due to rampant displacement. We have an obligation to ensure children and their parents are no longer ignored. This is a problem that we can solve with bold leadership.”

The Moms also shared recently uncovered information about a deposit scam being run from the house before the Moms for Housing reclaimed it on behalf of the Oakland community. Three different families so far have come forward to share that they put down deposits of $3500 each to rent the house, only to have their checks cashed and never hear from the real estate agent again.

“When you hold a property vacant in Oakland while people are so desperate for housing, as Wedgewood has done, you create the conditions for scams like this one,” said Elena Frink, a victim of the scam. “By keeping this house vacant, Wedgewood is driving up prices for all Oakland renters. It should be illegal to keep a house like this empty while moms and kids suffer on the street.”

The Moms for Housing have launched a petition directed at Wedgewood, asking them to negotiate in good faith with the Moms for the return of the house to community control. Supporters can sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/title-stop-the-eviction-of-moms-4-housing