Nearly a year after members of Moms 4 Housing became a national sensation by illegally squatting in an empty West Oakland home, the group on Friday announced another victory. That house is now in the hands of a community land trust, and will soon become housing for homeless mothers.
After months of negotiations with corporate owner Wedgewood, Oakland Community Land Trust bought the Magnolia Street house for $587,500. Now, Moms 4 Housing intends to turn it into a transitional home where mothers can stay while looking for jobs, getting their credit in order and finding permanent housing.
Moms 4 Housing member Dominique Walker announced the deal Friday.
“This is officially Moms’ house!” she said, standing on the steps of the house that made her famous. Supporters cheered.
The home needs extensive renovations, including work on the foundation and a new roof, which the land trust expects to start within the next month, said Steve King, executive director of the Oakland Community Land Trust. He expects the work will cost several hundred thousand dollars and take four to five months.
The money to buy and renovate the house came exclusively from donations — both from foundations and private individuals — and does not include city funds, King said.
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Moms 4 Housing doesn’t intend to stop after one house. The group has another house in the works, which it’s working to turn into another transitional housing site in partnership with the Alameda Labor Council and the Rising Sun Center for Opportunity.
Moms 4 Housing, a group of homeless mothers, mothers at risk of homelessness and activists, skyrocketed to national fame after taking over the empty, investor-owned house on Magnolia Street in November. In an effort to raise awareness about homelessness and housing insecurity, and to pressure the city to repurpose other vacant homes owned by corporations, the group squatted illegally in the house for two months before being evicted by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Four people were arrested during the eviction process, but were not charged.
Moms 4 Housing’s message resonated with people in Oakland and beyond desperate to see something done about the worsening homelessness crisis, and prominent figures from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed their support. In January, the owner of the Magnolia Street house, real estate investment firm Wedgewood, agreed to sell the house to the Oakland Community Land Trust. The deal was finalized in May, but the coronavirus crisis delayed the announcement.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment