MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – State Senator Mike Oliverio, R, Monongalia, 13, had a potential funding fix for Bartlett Housing Solutions days before the termination of executive director Keri Demasi and believes a community of our size needs to have options to meet the needs of the homeless community.

“We’re a large county of more than 100,000 people, and we need a place for people who are homeless, so that’s where I start,” Oliverio said.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Oliverio said that because of that opinion, he worked to restore the $166,000 for Bartlett Housing Solutions that had been denied by the West Virginia Coalition to end homelessness. As the session was coming to a close, Oliverio was notified about the planned funding cut and went to work with state leaders to find a solution.

“I worked with our Senate President, and I worked with the governor’s office; I worked with the governor’s chief of staff, and I got a commitment from him that they would restore the funding they had announced was going to be cut,” Oliverio said.

After working out the deal with state leaders, Oliverio said he called former executive director Keri Demasi with the news and asked her to share it with the board members.

“Those dollars are coming; they’ll be there around July 1, and I asked her to inform the board and what that meant to them going forward with the challenges they have,” Oliverio said.

Demasi released a statement that said she believed her termination was based on her desire for transparency and honesty. Demasi wrote,” I knew the minute I spoke out about the extensive corruption, lies, coverup, collusion, extensive conflicts of interest, and multiple other things that my time was ticking.”

“I know there are many empty spots on the board, and there are about the board she has raised,” Oliverio said. “It seems like city officials and others will need to step up and get involved in that.”

Oliverio said it’s a city and county issue to sort through the details to ensure there are reliable and safe options for people experiencing homelessness.

“I will fight for every state dollar that’s possible to come and help folks who find themselves without a home in our community and help them have safe shelter, whether it be for a few days or a few weeks, whatever the case might be.”