Local church offers warming shelter as agencies wait for transformation of the Ramada property

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A failing thirty year old roof has closed the Bartlett Housing Solutions location on University Avenue and forced the relocation of 28 residents to the property at 10 West Run Road.

Recently, severe leaks were identified that did extensive cosmetic, electrical and structural damage, according to executive director, Keri Demasi.

“After inspecting it and having the roofers out it was 31 total holes that were causing issues that poured water in the week before Christmas,” Demasi said.

While roofers provided a temporary fix to prevent further damage, Bartlett staffers relocated the residents.

“Twenty-eight people from University Avenue as well as some of their belongings, 28 beds and 28 mattresses,” Demasi said,” Moved them out to our West Run Facility so we were able to continue to provide shelter.”

The University Avenue facility will require extensive repairs and inspections before it would be declared safe to be used as a public shelter.

“Pretty significant damage to the facility. It is a safety issue not to put folks into that building,” Demasi said,” If we’re not able to ensure protection- safe, clean as well as having fire protection that’s required by code enforcement.”

Advocates seeking shelter for about nine people have expressed disappointment that the Ramada Inn option is not yet ready. Demasi credits the work of March-Weston but says they encountered delays and the facility will not be ready for another 30 days.

“Security and fire systems that need to be up, running and operational including data and phone line systems,” Demasi said,” All of those things are driven by the safety and security of everybody up there.”

Demasi says the Salvation Army has assisted in the process along way and continue to provide valuable support.

“We are providing three meals a day out at West Run which we would not have done out at University Avenue because they have access to other feeding programs,” Demasi said.

Additionally, Pastor Stephen Prince of the Sabra United Methodist Church says they will provide a warming area in their gymnasium for referrals from the Friendship Room.