YSS Winter Freeze Shelter has new location, new challenges

Ohio County

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – There’s a new location and a big need at the Youth Services Winter Freeze Shelter in Wheeling.

They’ve helped more than 1,500 homeless men and women since they opened their doors in 2009.

Now, they’re facing new challenges for the upcoming year.

Thanks to a newly formed partnership between Youth Services System and the City of Wheeling, this years Winter Freeze Shelter will be located on the third floor of the Hillcrest Behavioral Services building at the former Ohio Valley Medical Center.

For more than a decade the shelter operated out of the YSS administrative office building in East Wheeling.

Staff members said the new location is vital to their operation and offers a number of advantages over their former facility

We are so thankful to the City of Wheeling For partnering with us on this new location. It’s really been a God-send because we are able to spread out more. If we were still in our old location at Hazel Atlas we would be too cramped together to be able to be safe from the COVID pandemic and the guidelines that are set forth by the CDC.

Betsy Bethel-McFarland, Communications Manager

The new site includes a number of upgrades for their guests.

There are two beds to a room, as opposed to the dorm style at our old facility. In addition to that, there are showers and bathrooms in the rooms. So, for the first time the guests will be able to take showers here at the shelter.

Betsy Bethel-McFarland, Communications Manager

The Winter Freeze Shelter is funded entirely by donations from the community, including churches, businesses and individuals.

YSS officials say that with additional space comes additional cost.

They expect operating cost to increase by nearly 50% due to an expected increase in guests, as well as the need for COVID related health and safety supplies.

We are expecting to have to hire more people to actually be here at the shelter because it is more of a space. We are also gong to need more cleaning staff because of the extra precautions that we need to take and the extra cleaning guidelines we need to follow from the CDC.

Betsy Bethel-McFarland, Communications Manager

The say they are very much in need of items such as towels and wash cloths due to the new shower accommodations .

They are also looking for any type of personal hygiene items, as well as sleeping bags and clothing items.

YSS officials say they plan to have the shelter opened by early December.

Stay with 7News for updates.

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