One hundred fifty-three tax-defaulted properties in Oakland are coming up for auction next March. In an effort to help alleviate the housing crisis, Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan wants the city to acquire some of those vacant properties.
Kaplan said Thursday that she will urge the City Council to adopt a resolution to allow Oakland to purchase some of the available properties in partnership with local housing non-profits.
“With the stark crisis facing so many in our community we need an all hands on deck approach to provide for vitally needed affordable housing,” Kaplan said.
The move comes after a group of homeless mothers commandeered a vacant home in West Oakland that had recently been purchased by a Southern California investment group.
The women, calling themselves, “Moms 4 Housing,” took shelter in the house on Magnolia Street in Oakland and attracted attention to the growing problem of housing speculators preying on homes and many times leaving them vacant. The problem persists not just in Oakland, but all over the Bay Area.
In these situations, well-financed investment companies often ignite bidding wars for properties, therefore, edging out moderate and lower-income individual buyers.
But following an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s order last week, the Moms 4 Housing members were forcefully evicted last Tuesday morning by Alameda County sheriff’s deputies.
Earlier this month, Alameda County Tax Collector Henry Levy provided local cities with lists of properties that will soon go to auction for unpaid taxes. An online auction is scheduled for Mar. 20-23, and potentially, a second auction from May 15-18, Levy wrote. The parcels included on the list have defaulted on their taxes for five or more years.