Housing nonprofit Oakland Community Land Trust earlier this week agreed to work out a deal to buy the home at 2928 Magnolia Street after a superior court judge ruled in favor of allowing the developer, Wedgewood, to evict Dominique Walker, 34, and Sameerah Karim, 41, last week.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid have all signed on to a solution that would allow the nonprofit to buy the home “for a price not to exceed the appraised value.”
“Community land trusts provide a path for low income residents actually own their own homes,” Schaaf said in a press statement. “The city of Oakland is a partner in making that happen by setting aside a part of our affordable housing funds specifically for this purpose.”
Walker and Karim moved into the home two months ago after failing to find affordable housing for themselves and their young children. The three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot property is owned by Southern California investment company Wedgewood, which bought it at a foreclosure auction in July for $501,000 with plans to develop it.
The company had originally called the squatting “simply theft.”
Supporters have created a human shield for the moms who have taken over an empty house in Oakland. Their eviction has been ordered but they have no plans to leave. #Moms4Housing pic.twitter.com/MZgrPcele3
— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) January 13, 2020
Walker and Karim then formed Moms 4 Housing, a collective aimed at drawing attention to the housing crisis in California and speaking out against real estate developers who buy homes in low-income neighborhoods for investment rather than the community. Following the rise of technology companies and subsequent spike in property values in the Bay Area, homelessness also spiked — from 1,900 to more than 3,000 in the last two years alone, according to CBS.
“This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community,” Walker told CBS5 KPIX.
Oakland Community Land Trust, which buys properties and turns them into affordable housing, had proposed to buy the property when Walker and Kareem had first moved in but Wedgewood had previously said that it would not negotiate while the women were occupying the home.
“What changed was the house was no longer being held hostage. We always said that we wouldn’t negotiate and we would have discussions once the house was free,” a Wedgewood representative said.
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