On November 18th, a group of Black mothers took up residency inside a vacant house in Oakland. 57 days later, the women and their children were evicted by swat. Their story sparked a national conversation about housing, capitalism, and homelessness.
Now, after two months of protests and support from locals, the women will be allowed to purchase the property.
The group Moms 4 Housing entered the house on Magnolia Street on 18 November with the intent to stay. The house sat vacant for more than two years before it was purchased in July at a foreclosure auction for $501,078 by Wedgewood Properties, a real estate investment company with a history of buying up foreclosed-upon houses cheaply, evicting the tenants, renovating the homes and then putting them back on the market at much higher prices.
Housing advocates say companies such as Wedgewood fueled the housing crisis that now grips the state, which needs anywhere between 1.8m and 3.5m new housing units by 2025. More than 15,500 units remain vacant in Oakland alone, according to the latest US census bureau data, while 4,071 people are homeless.
Moms 4 Housing took over the Magnolia Street house in an effort to force Wedgewood to negotiate the sale of the home back to the community. The women took the issue to court but the judge agreed with the company that the women were trespassing.
Less than a week after the mothers and some of their supporters were arrested, Wedgewood Properties negotiated a deal with the women to allow them to purchase the property.
“This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community,” Dominique Walker, one of the mothers who lived in the house with her two children, said in a statement on Monday. “Today we honor Dr King’s radical legacy by taking Oakland back from banks and corporations.”