MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown Fifth Ward Councilor Danielle Trumble came to the Monongalia County Commission asking for a meeting with county municipalities and agencies to review recent challenges that have developed in the social services network.

In addition to the potential closure of the Bartlett House due to financial issues, Trumble, who is also a board member of Morgantown Community Resources (MCR) and Seventh Ward Councilor Brian Butcher are concerned about a warming shelter for the winter of 2024-25 and the scheduled end of free bus rides to Hazel’s House of Hope in June.

Trumble told commissioners she was not representing the entire council and said,” I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that with the troubles the Bartlett House is having now the entire community is suffering.”

“We need some type of coordinated effort to handle these things because right now Councilor Butcher and I are out on a limb and we need support,” Trumble said.

Commission President Sean Sikora accepted an invitation from Trumble to participate in a meeting with the other municipalities and social service agencies to address the issues.

“We’re certainly on board in terms of dealing with issues and working together,” Sikora said.” We stand at the ready to have those conversations when you’re ready for that.”

Trumble made the request after numerous comments from the public and suggestions that have included re-establishing a camp similar to the pandemic-era Diamond Village. Trumble and Butcher have admittedly taken the lead on the issues and urged their peers to take a more active role after hearing from about six more residents the previous night.

“I think we need to take a more official stance,” Trumble said. ” A lot of people have been coming to Morgantown City Council and asking us to address these things and this is not something the city of Morgantown can do alone.”

Commissioner Tom Bloom wants to participate and wants to be involved, However, Bloom described their role as one of support and cited the 24 agencies they allocate more than $1 million to provide services.

“Somebody from the state or someone is going to have to take charge of that part of it,” Bloom said. ” I think the cities and county are part of the solution by funding it, but we are not the answer.”

During the winter of 2022, the then warming shelter operated at Hazel’s House of Hope os Scott Avenue and about 60 people a day used the facility. At the time, there were complaints about placing the shelter in the entrance/lobby area and adequate staffing.

“I don’t understand that if we have 80 or so people that are in the community and say they need housing and they never came during those cold spells and I’m not sure why,” Bloom said. ” But, the RFP for the warming shelter- where it’s going to be and how it’s going to be run is something we have to look at.”

In recent years, the city of Morgantown has allocated $30,000 and Monongalia County contributed $10,000 to the operation of the shelter.