Mon County Commission approves extra funding for warming shelters

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County Commission is giving the greenlight for extra funding for Morgantown Area warming shelters.

Approximately $38,041 is being approved unanimously by commission to be granted to the United Way of Mon and Preston Counties to help support warming shelters hosted at Hazel’s House of Hope on Scott Avenue. This will add on to close to $750,000 in funding by commission to support the shelters and other services on the Scott Avenue location.

“With the commission taking the position of responsibility to backstop the full amount provided,” said Commissioner Sean Sikora.

The extra funding is coming with a few requirements involving participation of other parties who work with local warming shelters. Local organizations involved in running shelters at Hazel House of Hope are required to have weekly meetings on how to fine tune operations and make sure no dollar donated from various entities are wasted. If requisites are met, the funds will allow for a partial reimbursement of the costs of running the shelters.

“They’ll be reimbursed up to like $13,000 a month but by that time they should be coming to us and giving us an update,” said Sikora.

Commission’s approval for extra funding continues a longtime association with the project that began midway through the COVID-19 pandemic. Commission along with the City of Morgantown and local organizations have worked to contribute financially and manpower to expand from operating the shelters during winter nights to a twenty-four hour winter long operation with plans to expand human services to those staying at Hazel’s House of Hope.

“That commission be updated on status of entities working together on a four to five weekend basis,” said Sikora on the conditions of approval of the funds.

The operation of warming shelters at Hazel’s House of Hope is being supported by Monongalia County Commission in collaboration with the City of Morgantown, the United Way of Mon and Preston Counties, the Salvation Army among other local human services groups. The end goal for commission is to have the warming shelter fully operated by the local nonprofits, with government entities offering financial support to help ensure the shelters are run all winter long on a twenty-four hour basis.

“Our position in this is that we just want to make sure that everybody was working together to make the best use of everybody’s dollars that’s being provided to his project,” Sikora said.

The $38,041 from commission is a match made with the City of Morgantown. The Mylan Puskar Foundation contributed $15,000 and Your Community Foundation donated $5,500 to the shelter.