A California judge ruled on Friday that six homeless women who’ve drawn national attention by squatting in an empty Oakland house since November must vacate the property because they have “no valid claim of possession to” the thee-bedroom home.
The decision means the women have less than five days to leave or a local sheriff can force them out, according to the court order.
Sam Singer, a spokesman for Wedgewood, the real estate firm that owns the home, said the company “takes no pleasure in having the sheriff enforce the court’s order to evict the squatters,” adding that “we urge the squatters to leave voluntarily and peacefully.”
The women, who have banded together under a group called “Moms 4 Housing,” moved into the home on Magnolia Street in West Oakland after saying they couldn’t find affordable housing in the Bay Area. The women believe they should be allowed to purchase the property, but Judge Patrick McKinney disagreed.
“These squatters, as heartfelt as they are, are taking something from someone else, and that goes against the very grain of our society and civilization,” Singer said. “Wedgewood has said publicly that it sympathizes with the squatters who broke in, but it doesn’t condone the theft of property.”
Moms 4 Housing sounded a defiant note after the court ruling, tweeting that “the moms, and the community behind them, will not leave the property.”
Dominique Walker, one of the moms in the home, said Friday that she intends to stay despite the court’s decision. “Today is not a defeat – it’s the beginning of a movement,” she said during a press conference held on the walkway of the home, flanked by the other women. “We never thought we’d win in an unjust system. We’re up against corporations who are willing to put mothers out on the street.”