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A place you go for hope

Community supporting community. Every day this happens at Hazel’s House of Hope (HHH) in Morgantown. 

The concept of HHH is a fairly new idea when it comes to delivering social services. By sharing one facility, located at the former Ramada Inn on Scott Avenue, a variety of local nonprofit organizations can communicate, collaborate and coordinate under a shared and affordable roof, making it possible to provide an array of services for the most vulnerable populations. 

Tuesday, Hazel’s House opened its doors to the public during an open house event, which included tours of the various agencies housed on the HHH campus.  

“These are community organizations whose number one goal is to help those in need. Our job is to create a very safe, open, accessible campus so people can get here and access not-for-profits who want to help them,” said David Goldberg, board president of Morgantown Community Resource (MCR) and president and CEO of Mon Health System.   

Goldberg told The Dominion Post there were three main reasons they wanted to open the doors to the community and give them access to the campus. 

“One is we are a facilitator, if you will,” Goldberg said. “We create the environment for the not-for-profits to come together. We don’t run the operations, so we wanted to clarify that to the community. 

“The second thing we want to do is get people access to these great nonprofits by knowing that they’re here,” he said. 

“Three is we want to dispel the rumors of what the campus is not. This is not a place that you go just because you are homeless. This is not a place that you go because you are dealing with addiction,” he explained. “This is a place you go for hope. It’s a place to make connections between not-for-profits and people who need help and then we make connections. That’s what the campus is all about.” 

With a charitable donation in 2019, MCR was able to secure the 10.5 acres of land and 108,000-square-foot property that became Hazel’s House of Hope. 

Renovations to the old hotel began in 2020 and since then HHH has continuously made improvements to the building, including replacing the roof, adding central HVAC units and a sprinkler system, and updating the elevators. 

During Tuesday’s event, the John Matthew Brown Charitable Trust and the George D. Hutton Memorial Foundation each presented HHH with checks for $50,000 that will be used for an addition to the Day Room where those in need can go to shower, wash their clothes, get a meal and find assistance. 

Addressing the crowd gathered in the lobby, Goldberg said, “That’s what we do in West Virginia. We take care of our own.”   

Organizations currently partnered with HHH address three main concerns – homelessness, food insecurity and addiction and substance use disorders. 

“Use these services,” Goldberg said. “They are instrumental in continuing to move us forward.” 

Currently inside the building you will find eight nonprofit agencies that serve a variety of demographics. 

-Aspire Services Center Inc offers a job training reentry service as well as peer recovery and residency services for all adults with a focus on veterans recovering from addiction. 

-Bartlett Housing Solutions addresses homelessness and offers an emergency triage center, transitional housing, community based rapid re-housing rental assistance and in-home case management, as well as permanent supportive housing and affordable housing rentals. 

-Catholic Charities West Virginia provides a food pantry, utility and rental emergency assistance, refugee resettlement and immigration services, WV Birth to 3, and a childcare resource center. 

-Hope Hill Sobering Center is a short-term facility operating on weekends designed to allow intoxicated and nonviolent individuals to recover from the effects of alcohol and drugs. It also offers peer recovery support specialists, supportive community resources and recovery residences. 

-Helpful Harvest manages local food drives, accepts, purchases and distributes food to those in need and to local food pantries. It also offers job training reentry and peer recovery services. 

-Lauren’s Wish provides a safe and healthy space for those suffering from substance use disorder who are waiting for a place in a longer-term treatment center. Services include peer support, individual and group sessions, transportation to treatment and medical appointments, referrals and placement to treatment centers. 

-The Salvation Army currently provides meals at lunch and dinner, monthly food boxes, utility emergency assistance and spiritual assistance. 

-Wellspring Family Services provides counseling services for children, families and adults. Therapists treat conditions like depression, anxiety, trauma, neglect, abuse, substance use and addiction, behavioral or emotional problems, family or relationship issues, difficulties at school, and the general challenges faced by teens and young adults. 

Morgantown Deputy Mayor and MCR Board member Danielle Trumble said it has been amazing to see what the building has become over the past few years. 

“When the Ramada closed, this giant facility was sitting here unused,” she said. “To be able to turn it around from a property that would have just become blight on the community into something that is actively used to benefit the community and serve so many different demographics has been really interesting to watch and very exciting to see come to fruition.” 

Trumble said she thinks it was important to host the open house to show the community how much good work is being done and how anyone might benefit from the services offered. 

“We have the homeless shelter here, but we are serving so many more demographics than that,” she said. “Almost anyone in the community has a purpose to be at this facility. We have the childcare resource center, we have addiction, we have mental health, we are serving a lot of different people out of this facility.”