RALEIGH, N.C. —
An angry community is scrambling to try to deal with the loss of a major resource.
The abrupt shutdown of the Raleigh YWCA Wednesday left 30 employees without jobs and scores of people in the community with no access to programs that are vital to them.
Among those services is an afterschool program that serves about 50 children.
Its shutdown caught parents off guard and many were angry.
“I was working today, very busy at a hospital taking care of sick people and I had to have the stress of knowing I had to figure out what my kids are going to be doing tomorrow and the next day while I have to work,” said Lori Kleeberg who was picking up her twin boys.
The shutdown also left community leaders upset.
“Why weren’t we brought on board earlier rather than having to react to the closure; we could have reacted to strategies to prevent the closure,” said Daniel Coleman who is the chairman of South Central Citizens Advisory Council.
The YWCA’s $2 million operating budget came from grants and funding that board members say dried up with no chance of replacement.
“What really moved us to take this action was that we don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” explained board member Debby Warren.
Earlier this week NBC-17 was among agencies that received an anonymous letter alleging fraud and embezzlement at the YWCA, something its CEO denies.
“There is no embezzlement at the YWCA,” said Folami Bandele. “No one has reported anything of that nature to us. That’s all I can say about that letter; we don’t know the source of it.”
Another service the YWCA provided was a Meals on Wheels program.
The pastor of the nearby Martin Street Baptist Church was asked if his house of worship can fill the void.
But Dr. Earl Johnson says his church can’t take over the program alone.
“The enormity of such a program is very costly and I’m not sure our church has the resources,” Johnson said. “What we are willing to do is to help out; perhaps several churches can partner together to make it work.”
Meanwhile other members of the community are upset saying if the YWCA had given them some indication they were in financial distress, community groups might have been able to find ways to step in to help.
The facility had been in operation for 110 years.