Homeless shelters issue community challenge for donations

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bartlett House programs in Monongalia County offer 64 beds for immediate or short term shelter for the homeless.

According to Bartlett’s Assistant Director, Ryan Boyd, at any given time there are three times as many people who need a place to go.

Over more than 30 years, Bartlett House programming has evolved beginning with the triage shelter on University Avenue in Morgantown.

“You can come into the triage shelter with no stipulations whatsoever. Then we work with you to get you housing first. That’s really our main goal,” Boyd explained.

The triage shelter has room for 28 overnight stays every day of the year.

On West Run Road, Nitor Suites includes 20 one and two-bedroom apartments that provide shelter for up to 36 people at a time.

A stay in the West Run Road “bridge housing” program is limited to six months and includes services to help residents find long term solutions to homelessness.

“They are provided with some case management, help with assisting and getting jobs, resume building, social classes and those sorts of things to really get them back on their feet and into some type of permanent housing,” Boyd said.

While explaining a fundraising competition between Bartlett House and Harmony House in Huntington, Boyd said a charitable community is a necessity to keep the doors open at any shelter and provide daily necessities.

“Especially with our bridge housing program, we provide meals 3 times a day 7 days a week. That’s always an added cost and things we’re looking for. At our shelter, blankets, pillows and a lot of times we need socks and under garments for individuals and personal hygiene items.”

Followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, November 29, a global day of giving is recognized as Giving Tuesday. Copying an idea between the Cleveland and Baltimore libraries, Harmony House workers set the stakes.

“They contacted us and wanted to if we would be willing to do a friendly wager on which community could be seen as the most charitable and could receive the most donations for our respective organizations. We’ve challenged our donors and communities to be charitable,” shared Boyd.

Between Tuesday and Friday, Dec. 2 at midnight, Bartlett House and Harmony House workers and volunteers will be actively collecting donations relying on Mountaineer and Thundering Herd fans to take pride not only in their teams but also in their communities.

“We are providing t-shirts from both WVU and Marshall to the other organization. Whoever the losing organization is has to wear the shirt.”

Bartlett House donations can be made online, www.bartletthouse.org, over the phone at 304-282-0726 or in the WVU Mountainlair Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.