The working mothers behind a controversial move to occupy an empty house in Oakland are due in court Thursday, where their lawyer plans to argue that they have a right to stay in the house based on state, federal and international law.
Misty Cross and Dominique walker of Moms4Housing began occupying the house on Magnolia Street in November. According to the women, staying in the house is one of the only ways to keep their children safe from the streets.
“We hope that Wedgewood just sells us the property,” Cross said. “It wasn’t made a home until we moved in.”
On Christmas, the mothers and their kids stayed in a local hotel because the house, which has electrical issues, was too cold for the children.
“It’s an old house, so we wanted to do some electrical work in there,” Cross said. “So, the power blows. We’ve been using electrical heaters, space heaters, to keep it warm for us.”
Along with the electrical issues, the roof of the house has plastic bags covering large portions of it.
In legal documents obtained by NBC Bay Area, attorneys representing the women will be using a 1974 case that says the poor condition of the house is not a reason to kick them out.
“The court considered, but rejected, the argument that uninhabitable living conditions may not be used as a defense against unlawful detainer,” the records read.
A spokesperson for the property owner said the women have no legal right to the house.
“There’s no legal basis for this argument,” the spokesperson said. “It’s simply an excuse that this attorney is making for these women that have broken into the home, are illegally occupying it, and won’t give it back.”