Monongalia County currently has two warming stations open. This includes the Bartlett House and Caritas House.
“It’s very important. If you see people out, they need to get in, because when temperatures start dipping to the -15, -25, as we’re expecting this evening, frostbite is going to set in within 30 minutes of them being exposed outside. So it’s very important to get them inside,” said James Smith, Director of Mecca 911.
The Caritas House warming shelter opens up when temperatures go down to 32 degrees. The Bartlett House is open daily.
“The Bartlett House is equipped with 28 beds. Once the Bartlett house is full, we send a shuttle down to the empty lot between Sheetz and Bartlett House and we pick anybody who is left out in the cold up. We shuttle them up to our facilities at 391 Scott Avenue,” said Jonathon Ernst, Client Service Navigator for the Caritas House.
The Caritas House warming shelter opens at 8 p.m. every evening.
The following morning, clients are given $0.75 to ride the city bus back downtown to the Friendship Room or Salvation Army to get lunch.
“When they go to the shelters, they’re going to be able to get something warm to drink. They’re also going to have extra blankets on hand for them,” said Smith.
“We have one client who is currently sleeping in his car and he comes up every night, parks his car. We allow him to park in the parking lot. And comes in and he can get his showers and everything else while he’s applying for jobs. It helps in the long run because they have somewhere warm. They have food in their stomach, and they can get cleanliness and go out and look for permanent housing,” said Ernst.