Downtown Warming Shelter a Necessary Harm Reduction Strategy

November 30, 2021

Dear Morgantown City Councilors,

The Morgantown/Kingwood NAACP is aware of the changes occurring in the location and types of services that Morgantown and Monongalia County are providing to our homeless population. We recognize the need for robust, accessible and holistic services while also acknowledging the difficulties in addressing these needs for a variety of reasons. We seek to support the provision of services on Scott Ave while also advocating for continuation of at least a minimum standard of service in a downtown location.

It is clear that much planning and organizing has gone into the creation of Hazel’s House of Hope, which will offer a variety of services to the homeless. However, after hearing concerns from those who are homeless and those who are experienced in serving this population, we are advocating for a more comprehensive plan in scope and/or implementation. Without it, we feel it could lead to harm or death to our homeless community members. There will always be members of the homeless population who will not be able or willing to access or participate fully in the types of services offered at Hazel’s; it is our duty as a society to ensure that they will have somewhere safe to shelter on freezing winter nights, such as the shelter that was active last year in the Methodist church.

The Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of NAACP stands in solidarity with our unhoused neighbors and asks that the City Council approve and rapidly implement a warming shelter within the physical area of downtown Morgantown as a necessary harm reduction strategy for the City of Morgantown and its residents.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance. Sincerely,

Anitra Hamilton
Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of NAACP

Person wearing a coat looking up at the falling snow