Homeless moms who took over Oakland house head to court

Homeless mothers in Oakland, who are part of the advocacy group, "Moms 4 Housing," have to appear in court later this month after moving into an empty house without permission.

The women, who have been living at the house on Magnolia Street, were scheduled to be evicted on Tuesday. But a  judge granted them a 15-day reprieve and ordered them to appear in court on Dec. 30.

“I claim right to possession of this home because housing is a human right,” 34-year-old Dominique Walker wrote in a legal filing in Alameda County Superior Court. “This home has been vacant for over two years during the worst housing crisis in California history.”

FILE ART - Homeless women took over the vacant house in West Oakland and moved in Nov. 18, 2019

Walker, and other homeless mothers and their children moved into the empty home Nov. 18 without the owner’s consent. 

The women have been trying to raise awareness – through a steady drumbeat of news conferences, press releases and a website -- to Oakland’s growing homelessness crisis. Their basic argument is no one should be homeless when investor-owned homes are sitting empty. They say they represent thousands of others like themselves and that their ultimate goal is to reclaim housing for the community from “speculators and profiteers.” 

About three weeks later, the women received an eviction notice from the property owner, Redondo Beach-based real estate investment company Wedgewood. The notice demanded the women vacate the property by Dec. 17.

 Sam Singer, who represents the property company, said all the filing will do is delay the inevitable eviction. 

"The court automatically accepts these type of filings as part of the eviction process," he said in an email. "It was anticipated by Wedgewood that this would occur. The filing is a delaying tactic that doesn’t change anything: the individuals broke into a home they don’t own and they will, unfortunately for them, be evicted.  That is what happens when you steal other people’s homes."

KTVU's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.