"We need students for housing, we need teachers for housing, we need janitors for housing," said Fife. "We need everybody for housing, because it is a human right that you need to survive."
Among the group's supporters was Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas.
“What you are doing is incredibly brave,” Bas told the women after the hearing.
Bas, fellow Councilmember Dan Kalb and Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan have urged Wedgewood to negotiate a sale of the home to the nonprofit Oakland Community Land Trust, which has previously worked with the city to buy vacant properties to sell to low-income families.
“When this judge looks at this conflict between the right to adequate housing, and the right for speculators to profit — I want to be on the side of these moms,” Bas said.
Wedgewood rejected the offer and said it won’t work out a deal until the mothers vacate the property. In a response letter to the Oakland officials, Wedgewood spokesperson Sam Singer said the company is “deeply concerned that you are encouraging criminal activity, in this instance the theft of people’s property.”
If Judge McKinney rules against the mothers, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said they will carry out the eviction likely after Jan. 1. Spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said officers are prepared to make arrests if they are met with resistance by the mothers or their supporters.