Oakland – The West Oakland home seized and illegally occupied by a group of homeless mothers was not being held vacant by Wedgewood Properties, the company that purchased it, according to a spokesman for Wedgewood.
The Moms 4 Housing group “broke into the home belonging to the company two days before it legally gained access and no right to take someone else’s property,” said Sam Singer of Singer Associates Public Relations in San Francisco.
Wedgewood gained possession of the home on Nov. 20–just two days after the individuals broke in and illegally occupied it. So, claims by the group that Wedgewood has been holding this house, or any other homes, vacant are patently false, Singer added.
Wedgewood purchased the property in a sale on July 31, 2019 for $501,078. The company wasn’t sure it was occupied at that time, so it filed legal paperwork and got possession of the home on Nov. 20, two days after the group seized it.
“Wedgewood is sympathetic to the plight of the homeless and is a major contributor to shelter programs, inner-city youth, and the disadvantaged. The company hears and respects what the individuals illegally occupying the Magnolia Street home are saying, but it does not respect nor does it condone the theft of property,” Singer said.
The occupants of the property were served eviction notices on Dec. 3 from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. Wedgewood encourages the group to depart voluntarily so it can fix the home and put it back on the market. The company’s typical customer is first-time home buyers.
“Wedgewood is helping first-time homebuyers by fixing distressed properties and bring them back to life as well as helping the neighborhood, the community and city through its renovation of properties such as this,” Singer said. As it does with all its properties such as this one, the company plans to renovate and rehab it as soon as possible and put it back into the housing market, thereby improving the neighborhood, the community and the city. The individuals have no prior connection to this property – the suggestion that they “reclaimed” the home is simply false – they broke in and stole someone else’s property, he said.
“Wedgewood has not received any communication from the individuals at Magnolia Street. It only heard about this illegal activity in the news media. Wedgewood is willing to listen to the individuals illegally occupying the home, but only after they voluntarily leave the property. The company will have no discussion as long as they are engaged in illegal activity,” Singer said.
Singer said statements by the group and activist supporters that Wedgewood is has forced families from their homes through predatory lending practices is patently false. First, Singer said, Wedgewood is not a lender. Secondly, the company does not make loans to home owners.
“Wedgewood gets its funding from people and institutions of all sizes and economics, small and big. By attempting to steal this home from Wedgewood, these individuals are harming others like themselves whose money was used to purchase this and other foreclosed and distressed properties,” Singer added.