After weeks of uncertainty, the Neighborhood Planning Councils (NPC) have received $933,700 from the United Planning Organization (UPO) to run their 1979 programs for thousands of city youth.
The funding, which begins Oct.1, represents a 10 percent cut from last year's grant of $1.3million.
The UPO cutback, however, "will not affect the operation or funding of the NPC," said Curtis Taylor, director of the recreation department's community based programs, which included the NPC.
Taylor said the recreation department will absorb the $100,000 cut administratively by limiting their own specialized projects, such as the purchasing of trophies or theatre tickets for community programs. Therefore, the NPC will have about the same amountof money to work with as last year.
Since 1968, the NPC have served the city's poor youth, aged 13 to 21, through employment, job training, cultural enrichment and social service programs. This year, programs involving NPC youth expect to serve more than 12,000 persons. NPC officers are elected by the communities they serve, and programs are planned and administered by youth.
Leaders of the citywide, youth program, were informed of their new funding last week at a monthly NPC council meeting called by O.J.Johnson. Johnson is chairman of the NPC council of chairpersons.
The funds are provided through federal Community Sevrice Administration (CSA) grants distributed to the city through UPO. CSA is the government's anti-poverty agency.
"I've think if we hadn't raised objections (through) a combination of letters and demonstrations they (UPO) would have cut us more," said Steven Block, a member of NPC 6 in the Cleveland Park area.
In recent weeks, Johnson said rumours had circulated that UPO was contemplating cuts as deep as 50 percent. He said he had called and written UPO officials requesting information about funding for the NPC but had not received a respone.
On July 6, youths and leaders from the city's 20 NPCS met in front of UPO headquarters to display their programs and protest funding cuts.
A week before, Walter Lewis, president of the UPO board, had told The Washington Post that UPO would embark upon a new program thrust in 1979. Emphasis would be on adult employment programs and cost-of-living increases to UPO staff members he said.
Lewis said a shortage of funds required that UPO monies be used for more services. Therefore all programs funded with discretionary grant funds, such as the NPC, would receive less money in 1979.
The demonstration and Lewis remarks brought an immediate response from the regional CSA office.
Alexander W Porter, CSA regional attorney for the Philadelphia-based office that covers Washington, said CSA had asked UPO director Walter Davis to come there to talk about "the role and relation" between the UPO and the NPC. Discussions centered on UPO board of directors and the agency's new program thrust, he said.
Porter said the meeting was precipitated by the UPO demonstration.
Meanwhile Neil Seldam of NPC 8 in Adams-Morgan said the NPC was exploring direct funding possibilities through various federal agencies to allow the NPC to withdraw from the UPO umbrella.
Another possibility was being looked at by Bonabond, a community program for adult offenders and a former UPO-sponsored agency.
In letters directed to the Mayor Walter Washington and the city's mayoral candidates, Bonabond president Walter V. Yates said Bonabond and "several other community based organizations" believed the United Black Fund should take over the UPO role.
The letter said, in part, that "the (NPC) demonstration and UPO's response to the protesting youth indicates that a change is needed."
Taylor said the proposal was "highly impossible."
Contributing to this story was Washington Post Staff Writer Carol Krucoff.