WHEELING, WEST VIRGINI As winter approaches, organizations in the Wheeling area are preparing and collaborating for year 14 to serve the homeless during the harsh winter months.
For the past 13 winters, a low-barrier winter shelter has existed in the Wheeling community.
Last year the LIFE HUB, a nonprofit organization, was formed to address the complex issues of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Officials with the organization say operating the winter shelter, and eventually, a year-round shelter, is necessary to prevent death or serious health consequences for the unsheltered.
Last winter, 250 plus individuals received needed shelter in the LIFE HUB’s low barrier facility, which was held in the ballroom of Catholic Charities West Virginia which officials say is thanks to the generosity of Bishop Mark Brennan and the Catholic Diocese. Approximately 40 individuals were provided shelter care each night.
“Just as importantly, the LIFE HUB has and is continuing to work with other community agencies to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless in our area,” stated Melissa Adams, Homeless Liaison for the City of Wheeling.
“The LIFE HUB will collaborate with many organizations to ensure people have shelter and meet their basic needs during the upcoming winter. Community partners will be providing meals, clothes, services, and pathways into housing once again addressing hunger, housing, health, mental health, addiction, housing, employment, and transportation,” Adams gratefully acknowledged.
The LIFE HUB Team is currently in the process of converting the former First English Lutheran Church building, located at 35-16th Street in downtown Wheeling, into a homeless shelter for this upcoming winter. “The LIFE HUB purchased the church building in May of 2023 with plans to construct on-site a fully functioning low-barrier shelter along with a medical respite and space for collaborative services,” said Joyce Wolen, Executive Director of the Wheeling Housing Authority.
Operating as fiscal administrator of the LIFE HUB, the Wheeling Housing Authority has been a leader of affordable housing since 1937. “We have created a unique opportunity with the LIFE HUB for the Housing Authority to be a partner in homelessness initiatives,” added Wolen. “We will continue to work with local nonprofits and the City of Wheeling to find solutions for supportive services as well as affordable permanent housing options for individuals and families.”
“The official opening date and times are not set just yet,” stated John Moses. Moses will once again provide winter shelter operating expertise after spending over 40 years as the CEO of Youth Services System and managing the winter shelter for the past 13 years, including last year under the LIFE HUB. “We are working to get the funding for operations and staging the church building with beds and amenities to open and stay open depending on weather and other community factors.
If you would like to donate to Life Hub , you can do so here.