Cleveland County Budget Board Cuts Funding For Youth Shelter

Tuesday, April 23rd 2013, 6:48 pm
By: Karl Torp

For more than 40 years-, it's been a home for kids in their darkest hour. But the Emergency Youth Shelter in Cleveland County now wonders how long it will be able to keep its door open. The county budget board is cutting part of shelter's funding.

A refuge for kids who have been abused or neglected at home may close its doors.

The Crossroads Youth Center opens its doors to around 300 kids each year and receives funding from the state and the county, along with donations.

Monday, Cleveland County decided to pull its $225,000 from Crossroads, which it's helped fund since 1969.

Crossroads says that amounts to 44 percent of their annual budget.

"We're heartbroken," said Crossroads Executive Director Lisa Winters.

"The money we get from the state and currently put into the shelter is not enough to keep the shelter open," Winters said.

"It helps me get over some stuff," said a 12-year-old now staying at Crossroads.

Winters says other Crossroads programs will most likely be cut come July 1.

Cleveland County Commissioner Rod Cleveland says the county does not have the responsibility to fund a youth shelter.

"I don't consider that a Cleveland County youth shelter. It's a Crossroads Youth Shelter, a private non-profit," Cleveland said.

Cleveland says other shelters in the metro are not funded at the county level and Crossroads will no longer be the exception.

Cleveland does not believe the county will lose a youth shelter, because another organization will be able to come in and run the Norman facility if Crossroads cannot.

The County owns the building and leases it to Crossroads.

Crossroads says it will continue to fight for the extra funding, which it says has helped turned the facility into one of the most effective shelters in the state.