Covenant House has closed its regularly scheduled drop in services Tuesday, citing the unsanitary and unhygienic conditions of the building and the areas that surround it.
“We’ve been talking to our visitors for over a week to help keep our property in really good conditions and sanitary,” said executive director, Ellen Allen. “It’s just worsened over the last few days. We told them we would have to close if they couldn’t respect our property. All we ask is that we keep it clean, nothing else,” she said.
According to the service provider’s website, the Drop In Center is known as the heartbeat of the Covenant House. Those services include:
- Mail service
- Phone & Fax service
- Laundry facilities
- Showering facilities
- Emergency assistance with utility payments (Dollar Energy Fund)
- Vouchers for food, clothing, and diapers
- Help with obtaining WV Birth Certificate
- Referrals to employment, education, counseling services, and other assistance
- Voter Registration Applications
- Health Care and SNAP Applications
Allen said, “It takes us a couple of hours each morning to remove mattresses, different paraphernalia, feces, needles, the whole shabang. If people can’t help us do that, then we’ll have to reevaluate how we do our services.”
Businesses and organizations, including a church that sits across from the entrance to the Covenant House, have complained about the issues with the sanitation of the property.
One member of Simpson Memorial United Methodist reached out to 13 News, complaining of the crime, litter, and human waste the church is forced to face “on a daily basis”.
Allen is calling upon the population of the community that the organization serves to assist them in cleaning and beautifying the property. “We have to have a facility that is safe and clean for everyone,” Allen said.
The Covenant House will be closed July 4th, for the holiday, but Allen said there are plenty of other resources in the city for folks to turn to, should they find themselves in need.
“We have to be good stewards of every aspect of our community,” she said.
The organization plans to re-open Thursday, July 5. Allen said they are still providing housing options for people in the meantime.
Visit their website for more information on the services that Covenant House provides.