Community-Wide Homeless Facilities Task Force

COMMUNITY-WIDE HOMELESS FACILITIES TASK FORCE

co-sponsored by the Coordinating Council on Homelessness,

the City of Morgantown, and Main Street Morgantown

to study what Morgantown needs in the way of homeless services

The Purpose of this effort is to address three central needs in our community

  1. Provide a Day Center for Persons Experiencing Homelessness

A Central Point of Access:

Being homeless is a very stressful situation.  Many of the services needed are spread all across town, and the individual or family must make the rounds of them all, trying to put together the assistance they require.  We need a central point of entry into services that is easily identified and accessed, a place known by everyone in the community as the place to go if you are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

A Day Center:

Persons experiencing homelessness have the same social needs as everyone else – places to gather and socialize with their friends.  They do not have homes in which to entertain, nor do they have the financial resources or transportation to go out to eat, attend sporting events and other entertainment.  They need a hospitable place, other than the street, in which to gather, relax, and socialize.

In extreme weather, they also need a place to get in inside away from excessive heat or cold.

Access to Basic Services:

Access to basic daily services is very difficult for persons who are homeless: restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a place to store their personal belongings and important personal papers such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, medical records – all things that those of us with homes can most often take for granted.  Struggling with these daily tasks makes it much harder for people to focus on the goal of gaining housing and addressing the issues that interfere with their ability to live independently.  Furthermore, in order to work on finding employment and housing, people need access to computers, phones, a place to receive mail.

All of these needs point to the desirability, even the necessity, of having a center where all these needs could be addressed in one place.

  1. Reduce the Number of People Hanging Out on the Street and Panhandling

The presence of people on the street, some of who are homeless and some of whom are there just to hang out, is perceived to have a negative impact on the quality of life and economic development of downtown.  A day center would provide an alternate place to gather.  Also, if some of the services currently offered downtown could be consolidated in a location on the edge of downtown (must still be within walking distance), there might be less need for people to be coming and going throughout the day.

  1. Needed Renovations at Bartlett House

Bartlett House could definitely benefit from major renovation.  Possibly, this goal could be intertwined with the others in a new or renovated space meeting all of the needs in one place.

FIRST STEP

A community-wide meeting

to discuss how we as a total community can work together to address these needs.

March 26, 6:30 pm

Arts Mon Building

Facilitated by Kelly Nix,

Assistant Professor & Leadership Specialist
Community, Resources and Economic Development

West Virginia University Extension Service

SECOND STEP

As a result of the open meeting,

Creation of a Task Force on Homeless Facilities

to do the following:

Charge:

to investigate the possibility of a single facility to house:

  • emergency shelter
  • day center, with space for: socializing, laundry, showers, computers, lockers, life skills classes
  • offices for Connecting Link
  • a dining room
  • satellite offices for other agencies such as Work Force, Social Security, Valley HealthCare, Health Right, Legal Aid, VA, etc.
  • possibly offices and meeting space for the Friendship Room

Investigate:

  • What current services provided in downtown area could be consolidated into one facility
  • Services needed in the space
  • Possibility of including new or renovated Bartlett House Emergency Shelter
  • Characteristics of building to meet those needs
  • Location: must be within walking distance of downtown
  • Size
  • Design to facilitate all needs
  • Possible Sites
  • Sources of Funding

Create and oversee a Feasibility Study

Services Needed in a Day Center:

The goals for the day center are to be the point of entry into homelessness services in the community and ultimately to provide the following services:

  • gathering space for social activities
  • showers
  • restrooms
  • laundry
  • telephones
  • computers
  • email and regular mail services
  • lockers or locked storage area

Space for:

  • Kitchen and Dining Room
  • Life Skills Classes
  • Offices for Connecting Link
  • Office for Coordinating Council on Homelessness
  • Satellite Offices for Other Service Providers
  • Cold Shelter

During cold weather, the day center would serve as a cold shelter as needed.

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