"The board voted to discontinue the funding, effective July 1 of next year," said Mitzy Rowe, BHA director, who said no one wanted to eliminate the program.
"It was just difficult to make that decision."At least 35 children from Cambridge Park show up each day after school for the homework program, according to Rowe."It's very necessary," said Rowe
."It helps develop their character."Rowe
said Cambridge Park isn't plagued with graffiti or vandalism, and she
credited the program for helping provide positive activities for youth.
Ending it, said Rowe
, "would have a negative impact" in the neighborhood.
said cutbacks from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development prompted the board's decision.She
said the capital fund - where the board draws money for the club's outreach program - was cut by $200,000."It's been happening gradually every year," Rowe
said."Everything is getting cut.That's happening across the country."But Rowe
sure that the combined efforts of the BHA and the Boys and Girls Club
would result in new funding for the program."We're going to work with the grant writer," said Rowe
.Several years ago, the housing authority renovated three units at Cambridge Park to turn it into a center where the Boys and Girls Club
could run its after school program.Rowe
said the housing authority gave the space in addition to the $5,000 a month operating expenses."They didn't have rent or lights, nothing at all," said Rowe
.If they're able to secure new funding, Rowe
said, the housing authority may not leave the program in the space it now uses.It's possible, she
said, that the old community room may be renovated and converted into a computer lab.If that happens, she
said, the club could use that space.Rowe
said that if they can't come up with the money to pay for the program, the space now in use will likely be re-converted into rental units.