MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown city councilors heard encouraging news about the potential reopening of the triage shelter at Hazel’s House of Hope and the beginnings of talks for transportation for the less fortunate.

Fifth Ward Councilor Danielle Trumble announced the triage shelter at Hazels House of Hope could be reopened as a joint venture between Morgantown Community Resources (MCR) and Bartlett Housing Solutions, with Catholic Charities West Virginia taking the lead operational role. The facility could reopen by the end of summer and add about 25 beds to a critical sector of need for the homeless community.

The shelter was closed earlier this when Bartlett Housing Solutions began to have financial problems.

“Catholic Charities is comfortable being named as the entity we have been discussing this with publicly,” Trumble said. “We still have something to workout. mainly funding, I believe.”

Mountain Line Transit Authority (MLTA) General Manager Maria Smith introduced the “Access Pass” program to solve transportation issues after the existing arrangement for free routes between MCR and MLTA expires at the end of June. The program is a pass in a booklet that could be loaded with multiple fares. Purchasing in bulk by non-profits or municipalities comes with a discount of about 10 cents on the 75-cent fare, but if the riders can complete an intake process, they could qualify for a range of assistance based on disability.

“Right now, what we need to do is connect people with social services that are available in the area,” Smith said. “A second part of this would be to maintain a level of transportation for those who are attending social service agencies.”

The last program started with about 21,000 rides in year one, and by year two, nearly 90,000 rides were being subsidized. The cost exceeded the available budget, and grants have been awarded to continue the service through the end of the month.

“Seeing the ridership go as high as it did, there are trips on there that we called “no destination trips,” so they’re riding to have something to do, to seek shelter, I don’t know.”

The Access Pass program gives those less fortified access to all routes, not just Hazel’s House of Hope. The booklet contains maps of the routes and, more importantly, a breakdown of social services by what is offered. Smith suggested the booklets could be purchased by the city and given to city ambassadors or social workers who could help with distribution.

“It’s been my experience that no one is going to come and say I need to go to Aspire Services Center, Inc.,” Smith said. “They’re going to say, I need food; I need whatever, and that’s what’s in these boxes.”

Fifth Ward Councilor Danielle Trumble was disappointed, calling the plan “no different than what we were doing three years ago,” and Brian Butcher from the Seventh Ward was concerned about cost and distribution.

“I’m open to further discussions or to molding this,” Smith said. “I think this is a good step. Start to do something.”

Mayor Jenny Selin also announced a workshop will be held in the coming weeks regarding the city charter. Selin said the workshop would be held prior to a council meeting where members would provide issues to the Kay, Casto, and Chaney attorney representing the city, Ryan Simonton. Simonton would take the matters under advisement and report back to council at a later date.

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