In Oakland, empty houses outnumber unhoused people 4 to 1. Here’s why.

In Oakland, California, a group of mothers (@moms4housing) is waging a battle against real estate corporations and demanding permanent solutions to the Bay Area #housingcrisis. They describe themselves as “a collective of homeless and marginally housed mothers coming together to reclaim vacant, investor-owned properties.” The struggle began in November, when a handful of working mothers in West Oakland moved into 2928 Magnolia Street, a vacant house owned by real estate investment firm Wedgewood Properties. The firm tried to evict them, claiming they were illegally squatting on private property, but the mothers went to court and filed a “right to possession” claim, saying housing is a human right. “It is an absolute necessity to have shelter. It is a basic human right,” says Dominique Walker, one of the mothers living in the home on Magnolia Street that has been affectionately dubbed “Mom’s House.”


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