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Funding for shelter takeover in place, unofficially

MORGANTOWN — Nothing is finalized, but it appears as if the funding needed to finance Catholic Charities’ administrative takeover of the Bartlett House triage shelter in Hazel’s House of Hope is unofficially in place. 

During a July 2 presentation to Morgantown City Council, Catholic Charities West Virginia President and CEO Mark Phillips said state and local government would need to come up with at least $450,000 for his agency to step in and operate the shelter for the first year.  

On Wednesday, the Monongalia County Commission moved $150,000 in coal severance carryover dollars into the county’s “homeless shelter” budget line for that purpose. 

Commission President Sean Sikora said the body will need a written request before that allocation is completed. 

“We have kind of a gentleman’s agreement that we’re going to be part of the solution,” Sikora said. “We haven’t seen the formal ask yet from Catholic Charities. I imagine they got to get that to us pretty quickly so we’ve got something we can actually act on in a meeting.” 

Later in the meeting, Sen. Mike Oliverio, R-Monongalia, confirmed the state funding withheld from Bartlett House this year for the first time in decades is on its way.    

That loss was essentially the last straw for the already-struggling nonprofit, prompting the announcement of the shelter’s closure and initiating this entire process.  

“I’ve renewed my request to the governor’s office and gotten a green light there that they will help us fund some of this,” Oliverio said. “It won’t make up all of it, but right now it appears that the governor’s office is going to come through the department of human services with $167,000 to help with the administration.” 

Morgantown City Council will take the issue up next week. 

“The city of Morgantown intends to include $150,000 in proposed funding for the purpose of a homeless shelter, and this carry-over adjustment will be included on city council’s agenda for the meeting on Tuesday, July 16,” Morgantown Communications Specialist Hollie Gregory told The Dominion Post. 

Phillips previously said he anticipates the financial ask of the city and county will decrease in future years as Catholic Charities is able to secure grant dollars and private support for the shelter. 

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