Rape crisis center closing at year's end

October 27, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

The Sexual Assault Recovery Center, a nonprofit rape-crisis counseling center that offers the only hot line in Baltimore, will close for good Dec. 31 because of financial difficulties, a center official said last night.

A final nail in the troubled center's coffin was delivered Monday when the state Department of Human Resources opted not to award the organization a substantial grant, said Peter D. Ward, president of the center's board of directors.

"All of our hopes and expectations relied on this one particular grant, and it didn't come through," said Mr. Ward, who was named president last week. "We have been experiencing financial difficulties for several months. Without the funds, we simply didn't have the money to continue beyond the end of the year."

Helen C. Szablya, a spokesman for Human Resources, said last night that she wasn't aware the grant had been denied and that she was unable to answer questions pertaining to the center.

The 21-year-old center, at 2225 N. Charles St., relies on government and private donations for its approximately $500,000 annual budget. Its seven full-time employees and numerous volunteers provide services to sexual assault victims, including counseling. Members often help victims at the hospital and accompany them in court.

Mr. Ward said the center will begin phasing out its services immediately, although the hot line will remain available until Dec. 31. After that, a recording will refer callers to other services, he said.

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