Lycoming County Housing Authority Executive Director MeriLyn Severson said her organization is no longer legally or financially able to support the Campbell Street Community Center here.
She said the decision to remove tenants from The Center isn't the authority's, but rather mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
An investigation late last year by federal authorities revealed unauthorized spending by the authority to support The Center.
"That message was reinforced," Severson said.
The director said she is saddened that the authority is severing its relationship with the volunteer board that operates out of the building.
"The Campbell Street group is a great organization over there," Severson said. "I wish it was different. I wish I had all the money in the world to help them out, but I do not. It's painful to make decisions like this."
Severson said the housing authority has been directed to use funds that directly support its residents.
"The long and short of it is, we are not able to spend our money on this facility anymore. We only have a certain number of dollars to provide upkeep for our sites and we have over 1,000 families that we help in Lycoming County," she said. "Every penny that we spend on a non-family site takes away from the elderly and disabled and the most vulnerable people who we serve."
"If I put a roof on a building there, I can't put a roof on 10 tenant buildings," she added.
Severson also blamed funding cuts in the decision to end its support.
"Organizations across the country have received cuts. That's not news to anybody," she said.
The director said the authority's administration and its board of directors told the Campbell Street Family Youth and Community Association last March that the doors would be closing now.
"We let them know by the end of 2012 (that) this was going to be a reality," she said.
Severson also said she was disappointed that representatives of the authority were not invited to attend an announcement held by the association earlier this week.
A food pantry at The Center operated by United Churches of Lycoming County was a subtenant of The Center's board of directors. It too will lose its home.
"We're not the food pantry's landlord. It wasn't our responsibility to notify them," Severson said.
Occupants are not technically being evicted, since there has been no legal process to remove tenants. Severson said The Center operated on a month-to-month lease which is not being renewed.
The director said the authority will honor deed restrictions on the property that will keep the building a community center. She said the building will be put up for sale.
"My hope is that we will have offers from a community organization to purchase the center, including the Campbell Street group," Severson said. "I welcome that offer from them as well."
She added that the Dec. 1 deadline for tenants to be out is because of an upcoming HUD inspection. Severson said that several repairs need to be made before the inspection.
"We want to spit-shine that building and get it ready for sale," she said.