OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Alameda County judge delayed a decision Monday on the fate of four homeless mothers who have moved their families into a vacant Oakland house without the owner’s permission.
Judge Patrick McKinney heard from both sides inside a jammed-packed courtroom before delaying a decision on whether or not the women would be evicted.
“I want to carefully consider the issues that have been raised,” he said.
The attorney for the women, Leah Simon-Weisberg, felt that was a promising sign.
“So for us, that creates a lot of hopefulness in terms of his future decision,” she said.
Simon-Weisberg told the judge the women should be allowed to live in the house in the interest of justice and based on a needs analysis of Oakland’s homelessness crisis.
Wedgewood Properties’ attorney Francisco Gutierrez urged McKinney to dismiss the women’s claims immediately, saying, “A delay only benefits one party in this case,”
The company bought the house at 2928 Magnolia St, which had been vacant for two years, for $501,078 at a foreclosure hearing on July 31.
Misty Cross is one of the women who has taken up residence inside the home. She works three jobs, but still has trouble providing for the needs of her children.
“We barely get the time to spend with our kids because we’re trying to make sure they have a stable home,” she said outside of the hearing. “It’s really hard for us to keep focusing and moving forward with so many blocks in our path. But we are hard working moms.”
After the hearing, dozens of supporters gathered at the home, linking arms and surrounding the property.
Over the weekend, a Wedgewood spokesman rejected calls by two Oakland City Council members for the owners negotiate to sell or give the property to the women.
“Wedgewood’s position is clear and has been consistent from the beginning,” said a letter from spokesman Sam Singer. “We will not meet or negotiate with the squatter’s organization that broke into our house and is illegally occupying it.”
Wedgewood had previously said it was partnering with the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Shelter 37 to provide training and job opportunities to at-risk Oakland residents. The company wants to sell the property to a first-time homebuyer to help pay for the program.
Oakland City Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Nikki Fortunato Bas were demanding that Wedgewood negotiate to sell or give the property to the women who have been living in the Magnolia Street house since Nov. 18.
The women, who call themselves call themselves Moms 4 Housing, moved into the house — without permission — to call attention to Oakland’s homelessness crisis.
Wedgewood has served an eviction notice on the women.