Should Wheeling have a homeless liaison? One council member explains the need

Wheeling

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Wheeling is blessed with many organizations devoted to helping the homeless.

The Homeless Coalition, Street MOMs, Project HOPE, YSS Winter Freeze Shelter, House of Hagar and more are each approaching the challenge from their own perspective.

Third Ward Council Member Rosemary Ketchum says there’s a drastic need for coordinating them all, and enhancing the relationship between the City and the homeless.

In the current draft of the proposed ordinance, the position would require a social work degree (or equivalent) with two years’ experience preferred. At this point, the position has a built-in “sunset” of three years, at which point the success of the program would be assessed.

Ketchum hopes the homeless liaison coordinator position can be voted on by July 6 or July 20.

She says many people don’t believe Wheeling has a significant homeless population, but she says in Ward 3, a quick walk through the neighborhood will reveal many homeless encampments. She said we need to be sensitive to the needs of the homeless, while also ensuring the safety of citizens who want to take a walk through the neighborhood and feel secure.

Anyone with strong feelings about the position is urged to call their council member. 

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