Is there a larger systemic problem behind homelessness?

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Many different organizations, non-profits and churches like Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church are trying to help with one of Charleston’s biggest issues: homelessness. Many places receive help from generous donors or by using their own resources and now some are asking for the city to step in.

“We have to start thinking about people who are unsheltered, being apart of a larger systemic problem and its not just in Charleston or Kanahwa County its all over the United States.”

Pastor Dawn Adamy, Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church

Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church on Charleston’s West Side has been helping the homeless for several years. Whether it’s food, clothing or showers, those with the church say it’s tough to get all the resources the city has to offer under one umbrella.

“It’s hard for them if they want to get breakfast at Manna-meal, downtown or the East End and then walk all the way back here for showers. And since it’s such a long trip we try to provide them with food and clothing,” said Derek Hudson, the outreach and facility coordinator at the church.

The non-profit Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center, which provides shelter and resources, says they’re running low on critical funds and could use help from the city.

“This city has great ability to be a facilitator of funds. However I do not see those checks going to the people with the knowledge of how to use those funds to help the streets stay clean and help the population get off the street,” said Jessica McGuie, the CEO of Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center.

When we spoke with Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin last week about her proposal to fix the problem, she says, in order for progress to be made, people need to work together.

“If we have the financial resources right here we need to spend them on these critical issues. But it makes absolutely zero sense to spend these monies without coordinating with our state and our federal liaisons. We have to work together,” said Goodwin.

For now, churches and nonprofits are doing what they can to temporarily fix problems.

“Our showers and food and healthcare and everything comes with no restrictions. No ID. I don’t care who you are if you want help, we’ll give you help. That’s hard to find in this city,” Hudson said.

“Not just churches right who are trying to band-aid a lot of this. We need to think more holistically about why are people losing their homes? What are the social vulnerabilities that we’ve created just by the way we’ve kind of gotten used to things,” says Pastor Adamy.

There is still no word on if there will be a special session on homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse that Mayor Amy Goodwin called on Governor Jim Justice to convene in.

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