Funding will end for five programs
With their primary funding stem scheduled to end in June, five major community programs are scrambling for other sources of income.
Area programs such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Family Resource Center have been surviving and blossoming under a state grant program originating from the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention, or OCAP.
About 75 communities applied for the four-year OCAP in 1996. Of those 75 applicants, 12 communities, including South Lake Tahoe, were selected to receive almost $4 million each over a four-year period. Guidelines for the funding extended only to programs that would dedicate efforts to juvenile crime prevention.
South Lake Tahoe ranked high on the list as a grant recipient, among metropolitan communities such as Los Angeles and San Diego, for communities in need of prevention programs, said Lynn Nolan, executive director of the OCAP grant in South Lake Tahoe.
“There’s an intense amount of at-risk families in South Lake Tahoe,” she said. “At-risk equates to families living in poverty, single-parent families, families who have substance abuse or isolation from the community (because of cultural and language barriers).”
Nolan attributed South Shore’s low-income jobs and tendency for a transient population to its proliferation of needy families.
In addition to pumping money into the Boys and Girls Club, the grant money allowed for the development of the Family Resource Center and three other youth-related prevention programs.
Nolan said the three programs – Family Solutions, Families and Schools Together and Mothers and Sons – are funded solely from OCAP and will likely disappear with the grant money this June. Meanwhile other funding opportunities are being sought to support the Family Resource Center which currently relies on OCAP for 80 percent of its budget.
The Boys and Girls Club, however, will be able to carry on but in a much different capacity than it does now, said Steve Conway, executive director of the club.
“We get about $118,000 a year from the grant, about 60 percent of our budget,” he said. “Without that, we’ll have to reconsider the programs that we are offering now – and downsize.”
Conway said the grant has allowed all levels of the community more access to the club by providing outside funding to waive the original $3 daily user fee and implement annual membership dues of $10.
“If we have to go back to the fee-based structure, a lot of kids won’t be able to come,” he said.
Nolan said there’s a flicker of hope that state funding may continue.
“There’s been a strong statewide push to continue funding,” she said. “Right now, the money is allocated in the budget. We’re asking that they leave it in the budget because the programs have been so successful.”
Delicia Spees, executive director of the Family Resource Center, said she’s not taking any chances.
“Right now we’re in the process of applying for other grants and looking at other funding opportunities,” she said. “A far-fetched dream would be for the casinos to come through.”
Nolan said, over three years, the five programs operating under the OCAP grant in South Lake Tahoe have provided extensive service to 886 families. In addition, 3,713 families were served through drop-in situations, without an appointment.
“(Without these services) the community will definitely feel a tremendous impact,” she said.
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