WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF)

The Winter Freeze Shelter, in its new location in the Catholic Charities Center ballroom, is expected to open early in the week of December 19.

Because the decision about the new location was made only recently, they had a lot of preparations to make in a short time.

They are putting down temporary coverings over the hardwood floors and over the wainscoting on the walls, erecting room dividers to separate the men’s from the women’s spaces and bringing in beds.

They say it will be a low barrier shelter, with the goal being to keep as many people as possible out of the cold.

“It does not require people to have an ID,” said John Moses, shelter manager. “It recognizes that there are people from the streets that are suffering with addiction and may not be ready for treatment, so we accept anybody into a low barrier shelter, even if they’re a bit impaired.”

“It’s getting colder every day and we know that as time goes on, we’ll have people really suffering from a lot more illness and disease,” said Mark Phillips, CEO of Catholic Charities West Virginia. “We’ll have people who unfortunately pass away if there’s not an alternative. And we see crime rates increase as well because desperate people really are looking for solutions in this weather.”

“We just feel blessed and honored to be working with the diocese and with Catholic Charities,” said Melissa Adams, Wheeling Homeless Liaison. “And we are looking forward to the future of what the Life Hub is going to be here within the city.”

The goal is to obtain a building that can become a Life Hub, crating a year-round space for the homeless with on-site resources to help them with everything from addictions to education.

Last year, the  Winter Freeze Shelter was housed  in the former Hillcrest building in the OVMC complex, but it will soon be torn down to make way for a new cancer center to be built there by WVU Medicine.