Spruce Street United Methodist Church set to house homeless as weather gets colder

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Spruce Street United Methodist Church is opening its cold-weather homeless shelter as temperatures are set to drop below freezing.

The church opened the overflow shelter in 2019 in collaboration with Bartlett Housing Solutions, and has agreed to take in 15 people on nights when temperatures drop below 34 degrees and Bartlett is at full capacity.

Guests are greeted at the entrance, given a snack, something warm to drink and a mattress to sleep on.

“It’s been necessary probably so far, I would imagine for 25 days, 25 evenings that we’ve been open,” Neil Leftwich the church’s pastor said. “We have been able to serve over 75 people, sometimes it’s folks that are coming back, repeats, but it has gone very well and very smoothly.”

The church has mostly housed individuals who just want to have a place where they can be safe, know they can get some rest and be warm. Leftwich said he expects the shelter to be at full capacity for the foreseeable future.

When they’re at full capacity, he explained, the paid and volunteer staff do a fantastic job of managing the shelter. He said the church couldn’t take full credit because it’s a community effort. Leftwich explained that he feels blessed to live in a community where so many people care and have the compassion to help their neighbors in need.

“It’s a very humbling thing actually, more than anything else because I’m just one of many many many people who are contributing in a lot of different ways,” Leftwich said. “Our paid staff, our volunteers, our community partners, those who’ve contributed from the community, there are so many countless people that really make this such a worthwhile endeavor but it’s really something we’re doing collaboratively.”

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