On Friday a judge ruled that the six women calling themselves Moms 4 Housing need to vacate the home they have been occupying illegally since November. To make the transition easier, the real estate investment firm that owns the home has said it is willing to pay for the move and for the women's shelter for the next two months.
The financial olive branch came a day after an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Dominique Walker and Sameerah Karim — two members of the squatters' group — don't have any concrete rights nor proof of ownership regarding their residence at 2928 Magnolia Street. Given the volume of support that Moms 4 Housing has received over the past few weeks — from both local and national media, political figures, and even Twitter-savvy celebrities — one can infer that the offering from Wedgewood Properties is generous, yes, but also an act of PR damage control.
"We urge the group to leave peacefully and voluntarily," said Sam Singer, a spokesman for Wedgewood Properties, in a statement. "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."
However, it appears the mothers might choose to saw-off that well-meaning tree limb. "We are here, and we’re not leaving,” Walker told media and supporters outside the home Friday afternoon, according to KQED.
In a tweet Saturday, the group said, "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." And they added, "Their ‘offer’ is an insult."
Regardless of their defiance, Singer says on behalf of Wedgewood that “The court’s ruling is the correct legal, moral and ethical judgment against the squatters that broke in and illegally occupied the company’s home.”
An eviction by the sheriff may come sometime this week, Singer says.
Update: The group and its supporters are continuing to rally on Monday, and Walker is dismissing Wedgewood's offer as "two months in a shelter" and saying "Catholic Charities is not housing." She's further saying that if Wedgewood wants to help they can simply sell back the Magnolia Street home for what they paid for it.
#IStandWithTheMoms here on this chilly morning! If housing is allowed to be a commodity, we surrender control over our society and our lives - kids spend the cold night outside! We protect these brave leaders and their families!! @moms4housing pic.twitter.com/wr1ucQ0WPK— The Big Forgive (@TheBigForgive) January 13, 2020
*This post has been updated throughout.