The Norman Transcript

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April 27, 2013

Crossroads supporters protest county budget decision that could pull plug on emergency youth shelter

NORMAN — Protestors carried signs in front of the Cleveland County Courthouse Friday in protest of the elimination of $225,000 worth of county funding for the emergency youth shelter.

“We’re here saying as a community that we support the shelter,” said Chritina Owen, Crossroads supporter.

Owen said she and others who have rallied to support Crossroads want elected county officials to recognize the shelter’s importance in serving youth in the county as well as the historic connection between Cleveland County and the shelter.

Owen said the group would like the county to continue funding the shelter for another year to give Crossroads time to find other funding.

While the rally of support for Crossroads was not encouraged, supported or endorsed by the facility or administration, Crossroads Executive Director Lisa Winters has said that the Office of Juvenile Affairs, which is a state agency, and Cleveland County are the emergency youth shelter’s primary sources of funding.

Winters said without county funds, the shelter could close or, at the very least, other services might have to be eliminated.

Crossroads’ revenue for 2012, including the $225,000 from Cleveland County, was $12,783,548. Cleveland County’s contribution is less than 2 percent of Crossroads’ overall funding portfolio. Salaries and benefits constitute most of Crossroads’ costs accounting for $8,892,427 of the $12,477,116 in total functional expenses in 2012.

But the shelter is only one small piece of the overall budget, and government funding sources are specific to various projects. The shelter’s budget runs around $500,000.

“The county’s contribution makes up 44 percent of the shelter budget,” Winters said. “It can vary from year to year based on things we need to purchase, but it’s around $520,000 a year.”

The shelter has a minimum of two adult staff per shift for three shifts a day, 365 days a year.

“About 80 percent of that budget is personnel,” Winters said. “The rest is food and utilities and operating costs.”

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