Morgantown Business Owners Concerned with Homeless Problem

3 Oct

Morgantown, W.Va – This Tuesday at the Morgantown City Council meeting, the issue that brought the most attention was the growing number of homeless people that are in Downtown Morgantown. Several business owners expressed their concerns with the Milan Puskar Health RIGHT’s “Friendship House”, a community supported free clinic on Walnut St. and the interference it causes with local commerce. They spoke of how the homeless and drug addicted crowds that are attracted to the Friendship house have created an unsafe environment resulting in a loss of business. One of the distraught community members is a mother of a disabled daughter that attends classes downtown near the friendship house and recalled a homeless person threatening to kill her while she was with her child. A restaurant owner explained how she has consistent issues with homeless people harassing her customers. This issue consumed nearly the entirety of the public debates, all but one of the people who spoke talked about the homeless problem. This goes for both sides. Several of the volunteers who work at the friendship house also gave their testimony to the council. Of these, the first was from Caitlin, the Friendship House Program Director. Instead of discussing the homeless people as the problem, she emphasized that it was the homelessness that was the issue and not the people. She stressed that the Morgantown homeless shelter was only open from 8am to 8pm and that the winter shelter that previously existed had been shut down. She also explained how the friendship house is an important service to the people that attend there as well as to the local community. It offers the homeless and drug addicted a place to go to for help. It provides free health care, positive interactions and healthier methods of drug use. Patients can get free syringes and also safely dispose of them at the clinic. Some argue that this enables people to do drugs others say it helps the problem. Another volunteer, Dani, is a recovered addict that now volunteers as the friendship house as the Peer Recovery Coach of the LIGHT project. She gave a similar testimony and expressed the need for the friendship house in Morgantown. With both sides of the issue clearly displaying an urgent concern, it is no doubt that there is a problem that deserves immediate attention. With the City Council not making any comment about the issue it is unclear what they intend to do. One of the business owners mentioned that they have contacted Morgantown City Manager, Paul Brake, to no avail.








Mylan Park Health Right Website


City Council Meeting Website


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