MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The future of the emergency shelter operated by Bartlett Housing Solutions (BHS) remains unclear, but local leaders are developing potential options. The options range from supporting BHS to looking for another similar agency to expand operations in the Morgantown area.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Morgantown Fifth Ward councilor Danielle Trumble said days after the announcement of the loss of funding and prior to the firing of the executive director, there were conversations to assess the problem and offer help. At the time, there was not a scenario that would keep the 28-bed emergency shelter open.

“The assistant city manager and I met with the then director of Bartlett House, and she told us there likely wasn’t a dollar amount the city could provide that would keep the shelter open at this point,” Trumble said.

The city of Morgantown supports local foundations, organizations, and non-profits through funding but maintains an arms-length distance from their operations to allow professionals to work with those in need.

“In my mind, our job is not to be the social service, but to support the social services,” Trumble said. “That’s why we historically give funding to a lot of the services.”

Trumble said the managing board of BHS is looking at their capacity and hoping to develop options in the community to serve those in need.

“They are looking at their finances and the potential for reinstatement of funds—what they could get from the city, county, and maybe places like the United Way—to see if maybe they could reopen the shelter in the future,” Trumble said.

On a separate track, the board of Morgantown Community Resources is considering options. Finding others with expertise in the field to provide insight on the best practices or even identifying an existing provider that could expand to the Morgantown area.

“Maybe it’s time to start reaching out to other groups throughout the state who run similar shelters to see if they’re interested in expanding or get guidance on who we should be trying to work with,” Trumble said.

In the immediate future, the effort is still underway to find shelter for those displaced by the closure. Those efforts have stretched statewide and have shown a lack of capacity.

“Even the restoration of that funding does not guarantee they’re going to be willing to stay open,” Trumble said. “So, we’re working with the Bartlett House board and trying to come up with options for folks,” Trumble said.