MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The University Ave. location of the Bartlett House, a nonprofit shelter for those experiencing homelessness, has been shuttered for some time now after the roof sustained significant damage as a result of extreme weather.
“That caused it to crack and break away,” Executive Director Keri DeMasi said. “And in essence, what happened was we ended up with 31 holes in the roof that poured significant amounts of water into the property.”
DeMasi said Bartlett House then rounded up all 28 clients who were staying at the downtown shelter, their mattresses in tow, and took them to its other location on West Run Rd.
As of now, the holes in the rubber roof have been patched, but the plan is not to return to the University Ave. location. Instead, it’s to move into the old Ramada Inn when it’s ready.
The old Ramada Inn, just off Scott Ave., is being transformed into a social services space for nonprofits, such as Bartlett, to have a place to operate. Bartlett, for example, will have a little more than 14,000 sq. ft. of space, DeMasi said.
Our goal, at this point, is to relocate that property. We’re excited about the opportunity to be out at the new project that was the old Ramada Inn. And have been working closely with Mon Health System, as well as the Morgantown Community Resource group to move out to that property. It’s a brand new property that allows us to have a little more capacity in our shelter. But it also affords us the ability to offer additional rental housing units, which we have on the upper floors, the third and fourth floors of that property.Keri DeMasi – executive Director, Bartlett Housing Solutions
The University Ave. property was built more than 30 years ago and was never intended to take on as many clients as it currently does. That is why DeMasi said the most prudent move will be waiting until the space at the Ramada Inn is ready.
Until then, clients will stay at Bartlett’s West Run location. In addition, it is getting help from Sabra United Methodist and others who run overflow shelters. During nights of extreme weather, the church will open its doors to clients Bartlett can’t house.
“I think it’s remarkable,” DeMasi said. “I think it’s a testament to the community that we live in, that people come together and support each other in times of need. I think Morgantown has always been that community, but I think we’ve really seen it over the last 12-14 months as this entire country, and world for that matter, has gone through unprecedented times.”
If you are experiencing homelessness, in need of housing assistance or a shelter, then DeMasi recommends calling the statewide coordination line.
“The phone number for coordinated entry, if you’re experience homelessness and in need of housing is 833-722-2014.”