The Voice of the Students
February 28, 2020
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Moms 4 Housing Highlights Inequities

By Haley Morrill

There are many human rights, and one of them is shelter. We all need a place to live. Recently, a movement has emerged in Oakland called Moms 4 Housing. It was formed by several moms who were displaced in Oakland. In West Oakland, there was a house that had been vacant for almost two years. Starting with Dominique Walker, moms and their children moved into that home. However, the house was already owned by Wedgewood Properties, and the company viewed the moms’ actions as a seizure of property by squatters. These two groups took it up in court, which resulted in favor of the developer and a bunch of officers from the sheriff’s office evicting the mothers and their families in the early morning on January 15. With the quick development of this multifaceted issue, many pose the question: Who is in the right?

The court ruled in favor of Wedgewood Properties, dispelling the claim of the possession that Moms 4 Housing had filed. To the court, it seemed that the moms were in a house they didn’t own, and the developers were simply trying to get it back. They believed the narrative of a company that has plenty of money. Moms 4 Housing is successfully bringing awareness to the issues of homelessness and gentrification in Oakland. Increased housing prices are pushing people out and transforming the city into one that isn’t recognizable to a lot of long-time residents. This matter is not about who is right, but rather it is about people’s basic rights. 

The Bay Area cannot turn into a place where only the privileged can succeed.

Between 2017 and 2019, homelessness in Oakland increased by 47 percent, according to the Washington Post. More and more homes that could house these people are being bought by developers that just want to make a profit. These corporations don’t think about the people in the community, unlike the moms who are concerned over having shelter because it isn’t just about them; it is about their kids. 

The homelessness epidemic is a growing phenomenon in Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area, and it will affect many generations to come if our communities don’t do anything to help people in need. Moms 4 Housing is doing their part for their kids, and they are highlighting how there are many more people who are in the same or worse conditions. The court may have ruled in favor of Wedgewood, but at the core of this, it is about shelter for all, regardless of the money in your pocket.

Money is not more important than basic human needs. Some get lucky in life and are presented with many opportunities. Yet, this doesn’t represent everybody’s path. Others have to make the best choice out of less than stellar options. The Bay Area cannot turn into a place where only the privileged can succeed. It is better to turn to solutions like one that Oakland’s mayor created to help solve the situation. Her solution helps everybody. It allows the moms to buy the house, which was one of their initial proposals and gives Wedgewood Properties money. The solution presented by the mayor also has each group work with the city. 

So instead of prioritizing corporate power as the courts did, this solution helps everybody by prioritizing the Oakland community.

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Image by Nico Orgain

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