MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On Friday, Bartlett Housing Solutions announced it will be introducing several policy and procedural changes in an effort to positively impact the operations of the organization.
In the past few weeks, some people who were staying in a homeless camp in Morgantown made allegations about their treatment at the Bartlett House, such as facing discrimination based on race and gender.
A press release from the organization stated that the Executive Director and Board of Directors of Bartlett House Inc. are committed to maintaining a safe, diverse and inclusive working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.
“We remain steadfast in our belief that no form of discrimination, harassment, or inappropriate conduct is tolerated by anyone in our facilities. Accordingly, to continue to encourage all individuals who utilize our services and facilities to report any discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct that they may experience or witness as well as emphasize that retaliation for making such a complaint is prohibited, we are updating our existing Client Grievance Policy and Procedure in the following ways,” the release stated.
- Implement a hotline that will allow an individual who is not comfortable with making a complaint to the individuals identified in the current Client Grievance Policy and procedure to submit an anonymous complaint which will be forwarded to the Executive Director for investigation. The anonymous hotline will be operated by a third party, staffed 24/7 and can be reached by phone or via internet. The Board of Directors will also receive a report, at least monthly, from the anonymous hotline outlining complaint data.
- Afford the Executive Director the discretion to forward complaints of discrimination, harassment or other inappropriate conduct to an independent third party to conduct the investigation and provide a report of factual findings to the Executive Director. Should a complaint involve alleged conduct by the Executive Director, the Board of Directors will forward the complaint to an independent third party to be investigated and the report of factual findings by the investigator will be provided to the Board of Directors.
- Include additional language in our Client Grievance Policy & Procedure to emphasize our position that if a complaint is made, retaliation is strictly prohibited, and any employee investigated and found to be engaging in retaliation would be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
The release stated that in addition to the existing in-house training, all Bartlett House staff and volunteers will receive additional training provided by an independent third party concerning dual relationships, discrimination, harassment, other misconduct and retaliation, which will include a review of the organization’s Code of Conduct and other applicable policies prohibiting the same.
The release stated that the Executive Director and the Board of Directors will also receive training by an independent third party on conducting employee investigations with respect to discrimination, harassment and other misconduct.
“We are taking these steps to continue to ensure that all people experiencing homelessness have a safe and accessible shelter available to them as well as continue to provide mechanism through which they are comfortable to report any discrimination, harassment or other inappropriate conduct so that it can be investigated and addressed, if needed,” officials said in the release.
The Bartlett House is a nonprofit located in Morgantown that works to end homelessness in the area.