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Homeless Coalition Struggles to Keep Residents Warm

"We should have the ability to carry on the purpose of Jesus Christ and in this particular case our main goal and purpose is to make sure that nobody freezes to death," said Sherri Bartin, of Jefferson County Homeless Coalition.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va.It can be hard for homeless people to find a place to stay. As cooler weather moves in, a Jefferson County non-profit is trying to make sure that everyone has a place to get out of the cold.

However, the county is against that plan.

The Jefferson County Homeless Coalition is trying to make sure that everyone has a warm place to stay this winter and after several temporary locations, the group is looking for a permanent place.

"It can be very confusing if your moving around, you have all of your belongings with you," said Carol Beattie, coordinator of Step-Up Program. "What do you do with those all day, where do you put them, if we don't have a place for them, it's very difficult."

The group wants to move into St. John's Episcopal Church in Rippon, saying it was the perfect place with everything they need to operate. But Jefferson County officials didn't like that idea and the planning and zoning department denied the groups application. The group now plans to file an appeal but concerns from those who use the shelter remain.

"They are very concerned where we are going to be. We hope to do well, we need a place, the anxiety level is building as it gets colder," said Beattie. The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning department did not comment on camera about the decision. The director says when the coalition applied at the time, the church was not being used on a regular basis.

"Our bishop Mikey Klusmeyer determined that this is a church," said Rev. Georgia  Dubose, minister at St. John's Episcopal Church. "He has reopened it for the purposes of the Jefferson County Homeless Coalition, and we held a service here last Sunday evening."

"That's our specific appeal, that it is a church, that's very important as a church," said Sherri Bartin, of Jefferson County Homeless Coalition. "We should have the ability to carry on the purpose of Jesus Christ and in this particular case our main goal and purpose is to make sure that nobody freezes to death."

The appeal hearing is on Thursday 2 p.m. at the Charles Town library.

 

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