Filed under: Action, Gentrification, Housing, Southwest
For over three weeks, a collective of African-American mothers and their children, under the banner of Moms 4 Housing, backed by a growing network of supporters, have occupied a vacant home in the increasingly gentrifying neighborhood of West Oakland.
According to Mercury News:
Wedgewood, a Redondo Beach-based real estate investment company that does business throughout the Western U.S. and Florida. “The flip business is the backbone of Wedgewood,” according to the company’s website. Wedgewood did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The occupation, along with growing anger at attacks on the burgeoning homeless population, has again brought to the forefront widespread fury over rising rents, predatory landlords, and structural white supremacy that has displaced generations of long-term bay area residents. The occupation has also highlighted the fact that there are more vacant units in the bay area than there are people without homes living on the streets, as VICE wrote: “Oakland’s homeless population has soared by 47% in the past two years, to about 4,071,” while there are “nearly five vacant properties for every homeless person in San Francisco.”
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.”
“Power to the Moms! Power to the Moms!” Dozens of community members are here at the West Oakland house inhabited by @moms4housing. The moms are asking the community to come out & support them on Dec. 17th. That is the day they must evict the home, per eviction notice @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/nElR3VK0Zn
— Melissa Colorado (@melissacolorado) December 6, 2019
On Friday, December 6th, Wedgewood issued an eviction notice to the mothers, stating that they had less than two weeks to vacate the house. Around 50 people converged in solidarity for a rally outside the dwelling and vowed to return on Tuesday, December 17th, to fight back against a potential eviction by law enforcement.
Domonique Walker, one of the mothers stated:
“We want to fill this whole block December 17. We don’t know when they’re going to come, but we’re going to be here. And we’re not leaving without a fight.”
The group’s website went on to call for:
…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.