MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The announcement of the closure of the Bartlett Housing Solutions emergency triage shelter sent a shockwave through the community, but Fifth Ward councilor Danielle Trumble did see some warning signs.

Trumble said she had heard about the loss of state funding and that priorities at the federal level had changed. The end result was a loss of more than one funding stream for the non-profit.

But Trumble believes the services at the West Run location and the apartments in Hazel’s House of Hope are likely to stay open.

“When this news came down, that’s worse than I anticipated,” Trumble said. “It sure set off a firestorm, and things are moving quickly.”

That leaves the future of the 28-bed emergency shelter at Hazel’s House of Hope hanging in the balance.

“That’s not a conversation we have gone into detail with the Bartlett House Board of Directors,” Trumble said. “And even if we did get the funding, there’s not a guarantee they would keep the shelter open.”

Priorities for the Emergency Service Grant program operated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development are changing, and many communities across the country are feeling the same pinch.

“HUD’s ESG grant money; they’ve been changing priorities at the federal level,” Trumble said. “So, funding has been cut to a lot of dire services, emergency shelters being one of them.”

Reports indicate the Raleigh County Emergency Housing Center budget in Beckley for next year has been cut by 75 percent, and that could force a drastic reduction in capacity. While the newly formed Rainbow Shelter for the LGBTQ+ community in Morgantown received the highest award amount for the 2024–25 fiscal year of $250,000.

“The coalition could have funded both shelters. They could have given funding to every shelter that applied,” Trumble said. “They do have a set amount of funding available, but they could have spread it out to any that applied.”

Trumble said the funding is determined by a rubric used by the WVCEH that is available on their website here.

“What isn’t publicly available is the scoring and things like that, so we don’t know even where Bartlett Housing Solutions fell short and didn’t get the funding.”