OAKLAND, Calif. - The four homeless women and two children who took over an unoccupied house in West Oakland last month have received an eviction notice. But they vowed Friday they would not go.
"We're not leaving. We're not going anywhere," said Dominique Walker, while a large group of homeless activists and supporters cheered as she spoke from the front steps of the house on Magnolia and 30th Streets.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Department says the eviction could happen later this month.
But the women, who are part of a group called "Moms4Housing" say they have every right to stay.
"Don't you think it's more dangerous for kids to be on the street in this weather. Have you ever thought of children being raped out here by not having homes to live in," said Sharena Thomas, another occupant of the house.
The women say they chose the house because it has been vacant for years.
Their argument is people who need a place to live should be allowed to stay there. So they moved in about three weeks ago. The house needs repairs but it does have electricity and plumbing.
"This is such an important moment for our city. We have to make a decision on how we support families and communities that are struggling in this crisis," said homeless advocate Clarissa Douherd.
The house is owned by Wedgewood LLC, a Southern California real estate investment company. Its website says the company is built on the "flip business."
A spokesperson for Wedgewood only recently acquired the house in a distress sale.
"Everyone is sympathetic with their plight and with homelessness. No one is sympathetic to their method of stealing and trying to take someone else's property. That doesn't help the situation. It hurts it," said Wedgewood spokesperson Sam Singer.
Advocates for the homeless said they expect that when the sheriff's department comes to evict the women, a large crowd will be there to try and stop it.