The Norman Transcript


May 14, 2013

County battle continues over youth shelter funding



“I can appreciate the challenge of forming a budget that meets the needs of a dynamic and growing county such as ours,” Lyntha Wesner said. “I ask that we focus on the need of support for the emergency youth shelter. Addressing this need is exactly what government — our tax dollars — is for. To protect the vulnerable, especially our children. This is a public safety issue.”

Melissa May works nights at the shelter, but she also knows the importance of a safe haven firsthand.

“When I was 16 years old, I was removed from the custody of my mother and placed in a youth shelter,” she said. “At 16, I had been living with a parent that was heavily addicted to narcotics. At her hands and due to her neglect, I had suffered all manner of abuse.

“I was a shell, despondent and without hope in every aspect of my life. When I was placed in the shelter I had nothing, I had no one. I felt completely and totally alone and worthless. That shelter and the people who worked there were the only things that kept me on this side of the dirt. Cutting the funding to this shelter would be a huge detriment and terrible mistake for Cleveland County.”

Despite the emotional tenure of the meeting, the Cleveland County Budget Board stuck to their guns. There was no discussion of change to the budget or of designating money for Crossroads Family and Youth Shelter.

Joy Hampton



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