MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Diamond Village homeless encampment still has 18 people living in it, according to the city and there’s still a plan to find housing solutions for them.
The plan is to find them housing through the city’s Encampment Task Force, which comprises of West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, the Monongalia County Commission, Health Right, Bartlett House, United Way, West Virginia ACLU, property owners, and Our Future West Virginia. One of the camp’s original residents, Nicole Rose, said she is hopeful that she and others remaining are offered permanent housing solutions.
“Definitely, everybody wants a home of their own, genuinely, everybody wants a place that they can call their safe haven,” Rose said. “But we want to bring maybe even just have a spot where we can have — build a permanent place for the new people that are going to find themselves homeless. Every day they say ‘one paycheck away’, well it’s more like one day away. You look in the mirror and one day you have everything and the next day you don’t know what you’re going to do. It’s just about bringing awareness to all of it.”
Rose said she wants to be housed with former residents because of the strong sense of community that has been established at Diamond Village. She said the encampment had become more than a residence for her and others.
“We’re not just a community, we’re a family,” Rose said. “We look at it as a family unit, all of us contribute, we all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses and we try to help each other.”
Six former residents have already been moved into housing, and this is a testament to the task force’s commitment to helping, Rose said.
Plus, she said she and her fellow residents had received donations of food and people’s time to help them bring the camp into regulation, all of which is greatly appreciated.
“It’s awesome how everybody is coming together,” Rose said. “The city has been definitely working with us better than they did. We just need somewhere for people to go though and not as much push.”
Rose said the task force needs to focus not only on the current residents but also on the growing number of homeless individuals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The humanity of she and other homeless people cannot be forgotten, she said.
“Remember, it’s about humanity, it’s about being human, about caring about your fellow man instead of trying to stomp him, help him up,” Rose said. “It all has to start somewhere and there have been a lot of people before us, a lot of people after us. We just want to do what we can do. I tell my kids, do one selfless act a day, it doesn’t matter how little, or how big. Just do one good deed and you never know how much that can go out.”