Combatting homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues in Charleston

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Despite the controversy the special session is causing between state and local leaders, the letter Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin wrote aims to tackle issues the city is facing.

The struggles of homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse are no stranger to the city of Charleston.

“Even if you don’t have any mental illness and you’re homeless, you will because it is a struggle and it’s scary and it can be dangerous,” said Kristina Roush a homeless woman in Charleston.

Roush has been in and out of homelessness for 3 years, she says she has her own bouts with mental illness and substance abuse. “Like for me, I have a hard time being around people now. I have a lot of social anxiety. So its hard also for me to go to certain places,” Roush added.

Places like Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center are helping with the issue, but their shelter has been at 100% capacity since March of this year.

“We don’t just help the people that we are giving emergency shelter to, we actually help those in the community to help get on their feet, get sober, get linked with housing, and we have other community partners left for housing,” said CEO and President. They also offer showers and laundry to those who need it.

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin says these issues can’t be solved by the city itself.

“But what we’re asking for are resources to not only help the larger municipalities that are taking the brunt and burden of what’s happening because of failed federal and state systems, we’re also asking for support for other communities who need this help,” says Goodwin.

Despite the controversy and push back of the letter from the Governor, Mayor Goodwin says something needs to be done. “Let’s just try one. Let’s just try one or two of these things and see if it makes a difference.”

A difference for people like Roush who say, it’s easier than you think to fall into her footsteps. “A lot of people are only one paycheck away from being homeless and once you become homeless, it is so hard to get back up and do what you need to do to rectify that.”

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