Property owner offers to pay for move, shelter homeless moms occupying vacant West Oakland house

Bay City News
Monday, January 13, 2020
Property owner offers to pay for moving homeless moms occupying vacant Oakland home
Wedgewood Properties, the real estate investment firm that owns the building, offered to pay to shelter the homeless mothers who have been occupying a vacant West Oakland home after a judge ruled they have no valid claim of possession to the property.

OAKLAND, Calif -- The property owner planning to have two homeless mothers evicted next week from a West Oakland home offered on Saturday to pay to shelter them for the next two months.

RELATED: Judge rules against moms occupying vacant home in West Oakland

Real estate investment firm Wedgewood Properties is offering to foot the bill for their move and to pay a nonprofit to house the women, a spokesman said.

"We urge the group to leave peacefully and voluntarily," said Sam Singer, a spokesman for Wedgewood Properties. "We will pay Catholic Charities of the East Bay, one of the leading providers of homeless services in Oakland, to provide shelter and assistance to the moms for the next two months."

On Friday, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled the mothers, Dominique Walker, 34, and Sameerah Karim, 41, who are part of a group called Moms 4 Housing, have no valid claim of possession to the house at 2928 Magnolia St.

The mothers moved into the vacant home on Nov. 18 and have refused to leave, saying that they have the right to housing and have no where else to go.

RELATED: Moms occupying vacant Oakland home given chance to challenge eviction order

Moms 4 Housing didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Wedgewood's offer on Saturday.

After the court ruling on Friday, Moms 4 Housing posted on Twitter that "The moms, and the community behind us, will not leave the property."

The judge's ruling on Friday means the mothers have five business days before the Alameda County Sheriff will evict them.

"We reached out to the mothers to see if they would be willing to leave without a confrontation but they flat-out refused," Sheriff's spokesman Ray Kelly said Friday. "It appears that they're looking to force a confrontation."

RELATED: Homeless mothers fight eviction from vacant Oakland home they took over last month

Kelly said the sheriff's office has asked Oakland elected officials to try to convince the women to leave peacefully and some officials have agreed to do so, but he said he's not optimistic the officials will be successful.

Wedgewood plans to renovate the home and sell it to first-time homebuyers, Singer said.

The company has an agreement with Shelter 37, a non-profit that helps at-risk youth, to provide jobs and job training in the renovation of this home, Singer said.

"I encourage Mom 4 Housing to peacefully and voluntarily leave the property as quickly as possible so that we can train disadvantaged Oakland youths, give them jobs, and teach them skills," said James Washington, founder of Shelter 37 and former two-time NFL Super Bowl champion. "The sooner we can get access, the sooner we can put at-risk Oakland youth to work."

ABC7 News contributed to this report.