WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Social Services Center In Arlington To Close

Play associated audio

Since 2008, the Peer Empowerment Center has been a place to go for people with mental disorders and substance abuse problems — a place to use the computer, watch television, participate in counseling, or just meet people.

Chris Torbati suffers from bipolar disorder. When his Arlington caseworker suggested the Peer Empowerment Center might help him, he gave it a try.

"I usually, like, stay in the house," Torbati says. "But she introduced it to me as someplace to get out and meet other people who like video games and stuff like that."

So here he is, at the center just off Columbia Pike, playing a swordfighting video game called Soul Calibur. His friend Jeff Hughes is about to claim the victory.

Hughes, who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome says he thinks it's a mistake for the county to eliminate funding for the center.

"To close down a place that benefits so many people is most illogical," Hughes says.

But soon, they'll need to find someplace else to go. Arlington County has decided to eliminate funding for the center, just off Columbia Pike. A spokesman for the county says the operation failed to meet minimum standards in providing a warm, welcoming, encouraging and supportive environment.

Director Yvonne Morales disagrees.

"We are not given money each time somebody walks in," says Morales. "We are not paid by Medicaid. So we are not concerned about directly making business off of a headcount."

The program is expected to shut its doors later this week. County officials say they are looking for another vendor to provide the services.


Not My Job: Comedian Carol Burnett Gets Quizzed On Cougars (The Cats, Of Course)

In the 1970s, families would sit down together every Saturday to watch The Carol Burnett Show. The first five seasons of the legendary variety show are now out on DVD.

Time To Pursue The Pawpaw, America's Fleeting Fall Fruit

Ever seen a pawpaw in the supermarket? Didn't think so. Ohioan Chris Chmiel wants to change that by growing and promoting this seasonal, mango-like fruit that's native to the U.S.

An Evangelical Leader's Changing Views On Gun Ownership

As legislators fail to find solutions to mass shootings, Evangelical Minister Rob Schenck thinks religious groups have a part to play in educating people about guns and their relationships with them.

This Week In Data Collection News, And The Privacy Paradox

As California tightened its digital privacy protections, news involving Google, Pandora and other firms highlighted the way companies increasingly rely on data about their users. How much do we care?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.