OAKLAND -- An anti-abortion boardinghouse for pregnant women appears likely to fold after its executive director agreed to vacate its seismically unsafe home later this year rather than face eviction.
Casa Vincentia has provided a home for women who otherwise might consider abortion since 1986. But the nonprofit's funds have dwindled and earlier this month its landlord, the Diocese of Oakland, moved to evict the group citing an engineering study that found its 71-year-old East Oakland home could suffer extensive damage in a major earthquake.
Casa's executive director Barbara Jackson initially fought the eviction but agreed to settle after determining the group couldn't afford to pay its attorney.
The settlement, signed last week, requires Casa to leave the former convent at 3210 62nd Ave. no later than Oct. 24 and forbids it from accepting new women.
"Unless we can get help," Jackson said, "Casa will be defunct."
Casa, which has space for six women, is highly regarded by social service workers because it is one of two centers in the East Bay that cater exclusively to homeless pregnant women both before and after they give birth.
Contributions to Casa tumbled nearly every year since 2004, records show. The nonprofit, citing a lack of funds, stopped paying rent to the diocese in 2007.
The settlement requires the diocese to help Casa find new homes for its five current tenants and try to find a new home for itself
But the dispute has soured relations between the two parties. Jackson doesn't trust the diocese to help it find a new home, and the diocese said that for months Jackson ignored their request to discuss both its offers of help and its concerns about the building.
"We're certainly sorry that it took so long and that it took the pressure of the legal system to bring us to the table and to agree on important matters," Diocese spokesman Mike Brown said. The home will be vacant indefinitely because the diocese has not budgeted funds to pay for retrofits, he added.
Jackson is hoping to strengthen her board of directors and add some fundraising muscle to help Casa survive. "We're having just tons of calls from women who are searching for a shelter," she said. "I just feel so bad for all the pregnant homeless women who don't have anywhere to go."
Anyone interested in trying to help save Casa Vincentia can call the shelter at 510-729-0316.