The Homeless in Morgantown affecting businesses in a bad way

8 Oct

In a city council meeting on October 4th, the major issue that was addressed is the homeless epidemic here in Morgantown. Many business owners brought is to the council’s attention that the homeless population is really affecting their businesses in not a positive way. People who live close to the friendship house came in and talked about the experiences with the homeless population whether it was in a positive or negative way. The owner of the Friendship came in and pleaded her case to the council and why she believes the city should be there to help out and not kick them to the curb essentially. The Friendship house is only open from 8 at night till 8 in the morning. The people who spend their time there must take all of their belongings and leave in the morning. For those people that is very hard because they have all of their belongings that they cannot leave there and that causes them to have to lug all their stuff around every day until the Friendship house opens up later in the day. According to the owner Caitlyn Susman, said, “We have had an increase in homeless and a decrease in services”. Recently the Friendship house has lost a lot of very important staff members including their case manager and other positions that are very helpful. The Friendship house in known for welcoming all people regardless of economic standing, and Morgantown has the reputation for being an “Inclusive community”, but with the community trying to force them out they fell like an outcast. The Friendship house is going to struggle to have a cold shelter in the winter time because they will not be able to house all of the homeless population when only 29 people are allowed in at a time. Laure Jones, a representative of the Friendship house and Milan Puskar, said they try to help people get involved in the community through art, gardening, and choir. Business owners have brought it to the council’s attention that many establishments are closing down because people do not feel safe coming down to that area. The homeless have been known to be disorderly to people who try and go to those businesses and that makes people not want to go back to those places. The owner of the Dirty Bird restaurant said, “I do not feel safe parking at the walnut lots because I have been harassed by them before.” Asking her what she has seen happen she responds with “I have seen them fight outside of my store, I have seen them shoot up, do drug deals, be way to drunk in public, and they have opened my doors and throw objects in or yell profanity when I have families in there”. Someone who lives in the streets went to the podium and talked about hard it is for them to try and live in the streets when everyone in the community wants them out. They talked about how if they move the friendship house any farther out of the city then many people will not be able to use the transportation services that are there for them to get to the hospital for appointments.

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