CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — City of Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin has requested West Virginia elected officials to convene a special session to tackle key issues regarding substance use, homelessness and mental health.

In a letter sent to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Senate President Craig Blair and Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, Goodwin addressed several actions that West Virginia can do to provide resources for people in active addiction and those currently experiencing homelessness or mental health issues.

These actions include legislation, programming, preventative measures, and recruitment of healthcare professionals.

Saying that systems are broken is not an accurate way to tell the story of what’s happening because it’s not just broken, it’s shattered. It’s not the fault of a few bad people or a few people unwilling to help. We are not blaming anyone. We are here because of decades of neglect and avoidance when it comes to effectively dealing with mental health, substance abuse and homelessness.

We have been working on these issues since my first day in office and we have spent months working with our CARE Office and local service providers to identify actionable solutions. Charleston, alone, cannot solve all these problems. Cities need to have a seat at the table when discussing these complex issues because we are the one dealing directly with these issues and paying the price—everyday.

The solutions we provided to the Governor and Legislative leadership will not address or solve the problems completely; however, they provide a solid start toward building the infrastructure and systems we need in order to tackle the most complicated and complex problem of our generation. We understand these are not inexpensive endeavors but at this point, the cost of action on these issues pale in comparison to the cost of inaction.

Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin, City of Charleston

The letter also details the progress the City of Charleston’s Coordination Addiction Response Effort (CARE) Office has made since its creation in 2019.