Four mothers who were evicted last week from a previously vacant Oakland, California house where they were living have been given the go-ahead to return to the home after speculators agreed to sell the property to a nonprofit organization.
On Monday (January 20), it was announced that Wedgewood Inc. will sell the home to the Oakland Community Land Trust, which purchases and fixes up property for affordable housing.
Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the group plans to allow the women from the group Moms 4 Housing and their families to return to the property. The city helped negotiate the agreement with the land trust and Wedgewood after publish backlash over the evictions.
Wedgewood has also agreed to work with the city to negotiate a right-of-first-refusal program for all of its other Oakland properties, a city statement reads, according to NBC News.
According to Carroll Fife of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Wedgewood will give the city, the land trust, or other community groups the first chance to buy the homes “so they remain permanently affordable.”
The mothers received widespread support from members of the community all the way to the Governor. California’s chief executive Gavin Newsom praised the activists for their efforts.
“Wedgewood has always been and continues to be open to thoughtful and purposeful discussions,” spokesman Sam Singer said in a statement. “After regaining possession of Magnolia Street, we engaged in discussions with governor Gavin Newsom, mayor Libby Schaaf and councilman Larry Reid. These led to progress that everyone should agree is a step in the right direction in helping to address Oakland’s homelessness and housing crisis.”
Previously, Moms 4 Housing had brought the issue to court with a judge ruling in favor of Wedgewood. On January 15, sheriff's deputies arrived in the early morning hours to evict them and arrested two of the mothers and two of their supporters.
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