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Crittenton Services, Lauren’s Wish, Catholic Charities join agencies at Hazel’s House of Hope

MORGANTOWN — An addiction triage center, a behavioral health provider and the largest private social service agency in West Virginia are adding their names to the roster of agencies making a home in Hazel’s House of Hope.

Jonathan Board, who’s spent the last year or so as the interim executive director of the former hotel-turned social services hub, said Crittenton Services, Lauren’s Wish and Catholic Charities of West Virginia are either in the facility or will be soon.

The United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties, Bartlett Housing Solutions, The Salvation Army and, soon, Hope Hill Sobering Center, already call the 140,000 square-foot facility home.

“I’m extremely excited to see how far we’ve come in just over a year. It’s a testament to the people who got involved in this from the early stages and the agencies who decided to jump into what really is the only organization like this, my hunch is, in the entire state and certainly even beyond, in Appalachia,” Board said, noting the new tenants will put the building at around 95% capacity.

“We’re negotiating on a couple different levels with some space that is still available. We’re excited to make some announcements soon about additional partners joining us here at Hazel’s House of Hope,” he said.

Additionally, Milan Puskar Health Right Executive Director Laura Jones said Health Right will likely be moving into a neighboring facility off Scott Avenue early next year.

The former Ramada Inn and surrounding property were initially provided to WVU Medicine by Mark Nesselroad and the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust with the vision of turning it into a one-stop shop for those in need of aid and services.

The nonprofit Morgantown Community Resources was formed to operate the property and a $3.5 million CARES Act allocation helped make it a reality.

“People always talk about wraparound services. Well, here we’re doing it, just defacto. We’re all here. So if someone comes into the Hope Hill Sobering Center, the next morning they’ll come out and get some food and maybe spend some time with a counselor — maybe talk to some folks at Crittenton Services, or maybe some peer recovery folks with the United Way. Maybe they need short term or long term housing. All of that is provided right here,” Board said, adding that discussions are also under way about how to utilize the 9.9-acre property.

“There are numerous discussions – everything from community gardens to outdoor exercise equipment and walking areas, nature observation areas. It’s all on the table,” he said, noting his time as interim director will end in the coming weeks.

He explained that a team is being assembled to take over the day-to-day operations.

“It’s been absolutely an honor and a privilege to assist these wonderful people as they stand this thing up. It’s really been a great experience,” he said.

“From the city to the county and certainly all our partners on site. It’s been an honor to see the true dedication of public servants. Sometimes this can be thankless, but these folks put their heads down and focus on the needs of folks who are in tough spots in our community, and they do it without any recognition. It’s been a humbling process to work alongside such wonderful people.”