It’s been a year since a group of homeless mothers took matters into their own hands and moved into an empty house in Oakland without permission.
The Moms 4 Housing movement was the launching pad for one of its founders who was just elected to the city council.
“I will be going into office in January but we still need this! We still need you!” said Carroll Fife, Oakland City Councilmember-Elect
Fife hasn’t moved into her new office at City Hall yet, but the city councilmember-elect is already making plans for what she will do to tackle Oakland’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis.
“I’m really looking forward to implementing legislation so we can avoid the circumstances that these moms had to go through,” Fife said.
Come January, the housing activist will represent a district that includes West Oakland – one of the Bay Area’s fastest gentrifying neighborhoods. It’s in that same neighborhood where the moms managed to force a private company to sell an empty house to a community land trust.
“We kicked off a movement and now we need to create the infrastructure to protect people,” Fife said.
People like Fred Ubili, an Oakland homeowner and father of 3 who says he is in danger of losing his home to foreclosure, after signing up for a predatory loan.
“This is about time that all of us stand up,” said Ubili.
Moms 4 Housing marked the one year anniversary of taking over the vacant house on Magnolia Street by marching to the steps of the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse with the goal of calling attention to the weekly foreclosure auctions that happen on the courthouse steps.
“What they’re doing at the courthouse, they’re auctioning off people’s homes,” said Dominique Walker of Moms 4 Housing.
It’s unclear if the rain or the crowd of demonstrators turned people away from the auction. For Councilmember-Elect Fife, the real work on fixing Oakland’s housing crisis, made worse by the pandemic, begins in January.
“With the progressive majority on the City Council, I think we can do some things that we weren’t able to do before,” Fife said.