Catholic Charities West Virginia to take over Bartlett House shelter

MORGANTOWN — Catholic Charities West Virginia has agreed to take over operation of the Bartlett House triage shelter in Hazel’s House of Hope. 

The tentative timeline is to have the new agency in place sometime in August. 

“They are already located at Hazel’s House of Hope, and they have the experience. They’re partners with the emergency shelter in Wheeling, so they have the ability and the know-how,” Morgantown City Councilor Danielle Trumble told The Dominion Post following Tuesday’s meeting. 

Trumble represents the city on Morgantown Community Resources (MCR), the nonprofit board that serves as landlord and facilitator for the HHH property. 

“We still have some things to work out, mainly funding, I believe. We are looking forward to Morgantown Community Resources and Bartlett House partnering with Catholic Charities, that tentatively, by the end of the summer we will have a triage shelter back open at [HHH].”   

Bartlett House is the largest and longest running local agency addressing homelessness in the greater Morgantown area. 

The nonprofit’s financial situation is dire and well-documented. 

Most recently, MCR filed suit against Bartlett House for $264,072.92, citing breach of contract over unpaid rent and utility payments.  

Last week, the Monongalia County Commission joined the city of Morgantown to put up $34,000 to cover Bartlett House’s payroll through the end of this month. 

“They’re looking at keeping some of the employees who are there. Bartlett House had also identified someone that they wanted to be a new executive director, mostly to help with this shelter, so Catholic Charities has spoken to that person, and they are willing to come on with Catholic Charities,” Trumble said. 

It was announced in early March that Bartlett House was closing the triage shelter by the end of June due to a loss of funding, but there are still individuals staying there. 

Trumble pointed out that the city has money in its upcoming fiscal year 2025 budget for the triage shelter. The new fiscal year begins July 1. 

“I’m hoping that to keep those employees the next six weeks or so we can pay them out of the money the city already set aside for Bartlett,” she said. “If those employees can stay on, the anticipation is those people would not need to be displaced.” 

According to Trumble, Bartlett House will continue to manage and collect rent on the client apartments on the third and fourth floors of the HHH facility — at least for now.  

“For right now, the first year, the hope is Bartlett House would continue running those two floors and Catholic Charities would just do the shelter,” she said. “Then, after they got the shelter under their feet, they will look at maybe taking those [apartments] under their umbrella if they continue.”  

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Jenny Selin announced council will begin the process of reviewing the city’s charter. 

Trumble has been a vocal proponent of a charter review. She first raised the request publicly in a July 2023 council meeting. 

More recently, she’s become openly frustrated at what she viewed as an unwillingness to move on the matter.   

“I’m grateful to councilors [Dave] Harshbarger and [Weeze] Michael who joined me and forced this to be put on an agenda,” Trumble said. “It’s something that I’ve been asking for, but that’s only because the public asked us for it. So, I’ve been pushing, and I hope we can have some meaningful conversations about what actually makes sense right now.” 

Trumble said the issues she wants to look at are primarily election related.