Almost a year after the Moms 4 Housing created a national dialogue around the notion that housing rights are human rights, the West Oakland property the activists once occupied has now been purchased by the Oakland Community Land Trust (OakCLT) — and will be converted into a shelter for mothers experiencing homelessness.
It was around this time last year that 31-year-old Dominique Walker and 41-year-old Sameerah Karim moved into a vacant three-bedroom Oakland house in an effort to shed light on the fact there are thousands of unoccupied housing units in an area which boasts some of the highest rates of homelessness in the country. The ensuing legal battles (and downright militarized eviction) would later come to captivate the country en masse and help spark conversations on the housing insecurities millions face across the United States. (The moms, themselves, were facing homelessness upon moving into the East Bay domicile.)
Press conference with @moms4housing about to announce purchase of #MomsHouse by the Oakland Community Land Trust @oakclt. It will be a home again, fencing and plywood will finally come down. Also, new city legislation inspired by the moms' struggle is set to be introduced. pic.twitter.com/VqC3fpr4Ri— Indybay (@Indybay) October 9, 2020
Fast forward some eleven months, and the 2928 Magnolia Street address they lived at — a home once owned by the commercial real estate company Wedgewood LLC — has now been purchased for the sole purpose of offering respite for those struggling with housing.
As reported by KPIX Friday, OakCLT — a nonprofit that stewards local land and housing opportunities to offer “perpetual use properties” for the communtiy, but especially for low-income residents — purchased the home for $587.5K (which Zillow estimates is worth around $828K... even in its current dilapidated state), and the deal closed in May. Alas, the pandemic and delayed repairs drew out a public celebration; members of the Moms 4 Housing have added that the property still requires extensive renovation for habitation.
“We’re excited to be part of it and definitely excited to get the rehab started and finished so the house can be used,” says Steve King, executive director of the trust, about the house and the extensive repairs it requires. Among the long list of needed TLC includes a new roof, windows, and flooring. However, King notes that the money that is used to fix the home comes from donations; no city funds have been allocated to facilitate the project's completion.
Most financial advisors agree that your housing costs should never top more than 30 percent of your total income. But, in Oakland, nearly half of all households are "house cost burden," according to a report by PolicyLink, meaning that they spend more than 30 percent – in some cases as much as 70 percent – of their total income on securing a safe place to sleep.
The Mom’s House is theirs.— The Duke of Earl's Sweatshirt (@lee_umLtrain) October 9, 2020
Not for private equity speculators.
Not for gentrifiers.
Now officially, for the Moms. pic.twitter.com/5KpbR1dWYk
Even amid "pandemic pricing," the average price for an apartment in Oakland is $2,828, while the median household income of city locals remains at $52,962 a year — which means the vast majority of all income is dedicated toward just housing.
Nevertheless, the house is now "for the moms" and will sit as a beacon for community activism, shelter and aid, and an ever-lasting reminder that housing is a human right.
For more information on the Moms 4 Housing, as well as ways you can take action against housing disparity in the Bay Area, visit moms4housing.org; you can donate to their cause and toward the home's needed repairs, here.
Image: Courtesy of Twitter via @moms4housing; the picture was uploaded in January... you know... before the pandemic.