OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A group of single moms and housing activists facing potential eviction in Oakland is due in court Thursday and fresh support from city council members may not help their cause.
The Oakland group Moms 4 Housing will spend Christmas in the vacant home they have occupied since Nov. 18, but their pending eviction could come shortly thereafter. The women, both single homeless mothers, moved into the home to bring attention to Oakland’s homelessness crisis and to the large amount of vacant investor-owned homes.
On Tuesday, a judge issued a tentative ruling against their claim to the home at 2928 Magnolia St., just as a staff member for Oakland Council President Rebecca Kaplan was raising the possibility of eminent domain.
“I think we’ll look at all viable opportunities, including potential seizure of property, yes,” said Bobbi Lopez, policy director for Kaplan.
“This is a train with a one way track and it leads directly to eviction,” said Sam Singer, the spokesman for Wedgewood, the real estate firm that bought the home in July.
On Monday, Los Angeles-based Wedgewood offered up a job-training compromise, joined by former NFL player James Washington. That plan was roundly rejected Wednesday with renewed calls for Wedgewood to sell the home.
“I’m here today to encourage Wedgewood to sit down and negotiate with these moms and the Oakland Community Land Trust,” said Oakland councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas.
“It’s wrong to steal other people’s property and it’s wrong for the Oakland City Councilmembers to support the theft of private property. We take no pleasure in their eviction. We’d like them to leave voluntarily so that the home can be rehabilitated and sold to first-time homebuyers,” Singer said.
And it now looks like a judge will set that process back in motion with a court hearing on Thursday.
“It’s possible that the judge could deny the claim of right to possession, and then that would allow the Sheriff to go forward,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg with Centro Legal de la Raza, an Oakland legal group that takes on tenants’ rights cases.