By November 7, 2019 Read More →

Charleston shelter focuses on thousands of West Virginians on verge of homelessness

By Amelia Ferrell Knisely, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Covenant House, a day shelter in Charleston for people experiencing homelessness, is turning its attention to families on the verge of losing housing.

In 2018, the nonprofit prevented 2,215 from becoming homeless, according to new data released Wednesday by the organization. Nine out of 10 people who come to Covenant House for help are from West Virginia, and the majority of those men and women are from Charleston.

Emergency rent and utility assistance, food vouchers and diaper donations are some of the ways Covenant House staff have filled the gaps for vulnerable families living paycheck to paycheck.

Many of the men and women who receive help are employed, according to Covenant House Executive Director Ellen Allen. “It’s people who are low-income workers with a couple of jobs. At one point, they could cobble [money] together and pay their rent, but now, rent is taking 80 percent of their income,” she said.

West Virginians are now 14 percent more likely to become homeless solely due to the increase in housing costs, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. …

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