Friendship House causes concern for surrounding businesses

8 Oct

How often do you hear about people helping the homeless being a negative thing in a community?  Well on Tuesday night, there were concerns coming from the surrounding businesses and families that the Friendship House on Walnut Street in Morgantown is causing negative spillover affects for the people living in the area.  There were owners of local businesses that claim that the Friendship House is causing loitering by people who are participating in drug use and other dangerous situations that families do not want to be exposed to when trying to eat at local restaurants with their children.  The Friendship House can only hold a certain amount of people, so once the house is completely full, the remaining people are forced to take their belongings and head out to the streets.  When this happens, there are many people that gather outside the house and will be loitering in front of restaurants and other businesses that people living in the Morgantown area want to go to, but may feel unsafe with the people standing around.  One claim from a business owner mentioned incidents where there were drug deals happening in alleys right next to a place where a family with children might be trying to have their lunch that day.  There was another claim that a man was standing on the street and was urinating on the street while people were walking by.

Dani Ludwig, a member of the community who was at the municipal meeting defending the Friendship House, was there to explain why the Friendship House is something that the community needs and why her work with the homeless is something that should not be pushed aside.  She explained in detail the many people that she has met while working the house, and why she is so passionate about helping the homeless and focusing all of her energy on trying to make the Friendship House grow, as opposed to shrinking.

When asked about what she does when she hears so much negativity about her service she does for the community, she was very clear about her intentions.

“We just try to do the next right thing for somebody.  Somebody did that for me, why not do it for somebody else?”

The claims that were brought up during the meeting by people opposed to the growth of the Friendship House are real, and Ludwig did not deny these claims.  However, she points out that some of these claims may be blown out of proportion a little.

“I don’t say this to be mean but, uneducated.  I feel like it’s a half and half situation here,” Ludwig said.

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