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Moms 4 Housing Group Reaches Deal For Purchase Of Oakland Home Where Homeless Squatters Evicted

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- The activist group which supported the occupation of a vacant home in Oakland by homeless mothers has reached an agreement with the property owner and the city of Oakland for the purchase of the property.

The home at 2928 Magnolia St. was purchased in July by the Southern California-based firm Wedgewood Properties, but a group of homeless mothers moved into the unoccupied home on Nov. 18, prompting various community rallies about the city's housing crisis and a series of court hearings that ended with a judge ordering their eviction.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Monday that Wedgewood, Moms 4 Housing and the city have entered into a negotiating agreement to buy the Magnolia St. home "for a price not to exceed the appraised value."

Raw Video: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf remarks on agreement for sale of vacant home to Moms 4 Housing

The statement from the mayor's office said Wedgewood would work with the city's Housing and Community Development Department and the Oakland Community Land Trust - a nonprofit that buys properties and converts them to affordable housing - to buy the home in West Oakland.

The trust plans to allow women from the group Moms 4 Housing to return, Schaaf said.

"Community land trusts provide a path for low income residents actually own their own homes. The city of Oakland is a partner in making that happen by setting aside a part of our affordable housing funds specifically for this purpose," said Schaff.

Moms4Housing had previously offered to purchase the property from the real estate investment company, but Wedgewood said it wouldn't negotiate with the squatters while they were illegally occupying the property.

"It shouldn't have gotten this far for them to come to the table now and negotiate and say hey we'll just turn it over to you, but the real pain and real hurt we hold inside," said Misty Cross, a member of Moms 4 Housing.

"This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community," Dominique Walker, one of the homeless mothers who had occupied the property, said in a statement.

The four mothers and their children were evicted from the house last week and the property fenced off. Two of the mothers and two supporters were arrested on alleged misdemeanor obstructing offenses during the operation and quickly out on bail.

In a statement, Wedgewood spokesman Sam Singer said, "Wedgewood has always been and continues to be open to thoughtful and purposeful discussions.  After regaining possession of Magnolia Street, we engaged in discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Councilman Larry Reid."

In an interview with KPIX, Singer elaborated.

"What changed was the house was no longer being held hostage. We always said that we wouldn't negotiate and we would have discussions once the house was free," he said

"This was always a debate about what the methodology was. Wedgewood opposed theft and stealing. But, it does support finding ways to deal with homelessness, finding ways to deal to help the disadvantaged," said Singer.


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