Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan Thanks Moms 4 Housing, And Works To Obtain Affordable Housing From County’s Property Auction List
Oakland, CA – For the past several weeks, Moms 4 Housing, a group of Oakland homeless mothers and their children had been residing in a formerly-vacant home in West Oakland. An Alameda County Superior Court judge eventually ruled that Wedgewood Properties, a large company with a history of questionable evictions, could evict the mothers. The Alameda County Sheriff came to evict the mothers and children with huge numbers of heavily-armed personnel, tanks, flash grenades and fully automatic weapons, at great public expense, which has received widespread condemnation.
Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan had urged Wedgewood Corporation, together with Oakland Councilmember Bas, in a letter back in December 2019, to sit down with the Oakland Community Land Trust and to work out a mutually beneficial situation which would allow Wedgewood to get paid for their property at a fair market rate, and end the situation of strife and negativity.
The Oakland Community Land Trust, has experience acquiring, rehabbing, and otherwise handling houses – including those needing renovations – and providing them as affordable housing for lower-income residents in our community. The City Council, in the June 2019 budget action, had set funds aside to acquire and re-hab properties as affordable housing. Had this recommendation been followed at the time, the expense and trauma would not have occurred. Nevertheless, the moms persisted, and continued to speak out and President Kaplan congratulates Moms4Housing in their important victory, as Wedgewood has now agreed to work in partnership with the Community Land Trust and other stakeholders to allow the property, and others, to be acquired to house our community.
Said Council President Kaplan, “I congratulate Moms4Housing for their incredible movement building and victory to restore housing for our community.”
In addition, Oakland President Rebecca Kaplan promised to continue the work on the vital issues of housing affordability. A significant portion of homes are being lost to our community through County auctions, which put them in the hands of cash bidders and flippers. Those homes should instead stay as affordable housing in our communities and protect people from displacement.
At a time when homelessness has increased 47% in Oakland since 2017, in part because of soaring housing prices and speculative practices by large corporations, the Council President vowed to do more. A letter sent by Alameda County to Oakland City Officials, listing properties which the county plans to auction, also notified the Council of its power, via Resolution, to intervene to prevent these auctions.
Said Rebecca Kaplan, “I am asking that we adopt a Council Resolution, and take other actions as needed, to prevent the auction of specified properties which can be used (in partnership with community-based organizations) to help house those in need in our community.”
President Kaplan is also calling for State law to prioritize “auction by the government” housing properties to be used for affordable housing.