Company offers to pay for shelter after homeless mothers refuse to leave Oakland home

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) — Wedgewood has offered to pay Catholic Charities to shelter “Moms 4 Housing” and move their belongings to a new location.

Wedgewood is the company that owns the Magnolia Street home. It offered to pay Catholic Charities to house the women for the next two months, along with paying for their belongings to be moved to a new location.

All this after Dominique Walker, one of the homeless moms who took over the vacant West Oakland home, made it clear that they have no plans to move.

“I’m not leaving, we’re not leaving,” Walker said on Friday.

This despite an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s order that found the moms had “no valid claim of possession to the subject property” and had 5 days to vacate.

“We urge the group to leave peacefully and voluntarily. 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. In addition, we will pay the charity to have their belongings moved,” Sam Singer, a spokesman for Wedgewood Properties, said.

But the mothers weren’t very fond of the offer.

Dominique Walker’s response:

“It is deeply disingenuous for this multi-million dollar corporation, through their multi-million dollar public relations firm, to pretend to be concerned about the well being of Black families. Wedgewood CEO Greg Geiser is desperate to avoid taking responsibility for how this company has contributed to the housing crisis that is causing families like mine to be homeless and for participating in an industry that has robbed Black and marginalized communities of land and wealth for generations. We want to buy this home through the Oakland Community Land Trust, but Wedgewood would rather see our kids be in shelters or worse. We have seen corporations with blood on their hands try to buy public favor and this is an example. Their ‘offer’ is an insult.”

The mom say this is just the beginning of a movement to bring awareness to a housing crisis which favors rich over poor.

“This could be anyone, this could be you or your loved one that needs housing,” Caroll Fife said. “Which is why we are screaming at the top of our lungs everyone should have housing housing is a right that everyone should have access to.”

Singer said Wedgewood recognizes and sympathizes with the homeless and the overall issue.

The judge’s order indicates the moms can be forcibly removed from the house in five days, that why they’ve asked their supporters to join them at the house beginning Monday morning. 

Wedgewood plans to renovate the home and sell it to first-time homebuyers. 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.  “The sooner we can get access, the sooner we can put at-risk Oakland youth to work.”

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