MASON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A local homeless shelter is closing it’s doors after serving the Point Pleasant community for over 20 years.
Dwight Coburn, the CEO of Southwestern Community Council, which owns the Mason County Homeless Shelter, said the closure is due to a lack of funding.
“The building that we’re in is an older building and needs a lot of maintenance and upgrade on it,” Coburn said. “We’re probably in the neighborhood of $25,000 to $30,000 of some upgrades just in the pluming and foundation work.”
Coburn said the shelter serves about 100 families each year, but it takes about $250,000 to operate. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources provides less than half of that funding per year, so there’s not enough funding to keep it open.
Nonetheless, he said they’re going to transition into different services that the organization currently provides other areas in Cabell, Lincoln, Mason and Wayne Counties.
“We’ll start providing services for the community with street outreach, going out helping people on the street who are homeless and providing them case management,” he said. “[We’ll] link them up with other agencies to help them get supportive services; so, they will have home for themselves and get them the appropriate housing.”
According to the West Virginia Coalition to End Homeless, the number of unhoused people in Mason County doubled between 2022 and 2023, but, the county’s homeless population is relatively low when compared to the rest of the state. With the Mason County’s Homeless Shelter also being one of the smallest in the state, Coburn said that also plays a factor in closing it for good.
There are currently seven families utilizing the shelter, but he said all of them will be assisted in finding new housing. As for the staff members, they were notified last week of the closure, and will be able to transition into new roles within the nonprofit organization.
The shelter will officially close it’s doors on June 30.