This November, we ask that you join us in a month of thankfulness & giving. With the winter months upon us, we ask for your help in stocking our pantry with canned veggies. On average, our team prepares 25 cans of vegetables per day, 7 days per week, resulting in a need for at least 700 cans each month. Any help or support is greatly appreciated, and reinforces our mission to provide an end to homelessness, even if that means one person at a time.
Given everything else going on around us, we’ve made it easier than ever to donate, or even to start your own fundraising drive!
Visit our Canned Vegetable Drive page here, and click “Start a Fundraiser” in the panel on the right. Then you can set your own fundraising goal, and get a custom page to share on your social media and with your family and friends.
If you’d prefer, you can donate directly from the Canned Vegetable Drive page, or you can drop off your donation in person at any of these participating locations:
Thank you so much!
Bartlett Housing Solutions today introduces several policy and procedural changes to positively impact the operations of the organization. The Executive Director and Board of Directors of Bartlett House, Inc., are committed to maintaining a safe, diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We remain steadfast in our belief that no form of discrimination, harassment, or inappropriate conduct is tolerated by anyone in our facilities. Accordingly, to continue to encourage all individuals who utilize our services and facilities to report any discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct that they may experience or witness as well as emphasize that retaliation for making such a complaint is prohibited, we are updating our existing Client Grievance Policy and Procedure in the following ways:
Also, in addition to our existing in-house training, all Bartlett House staff and volunteers will receive additional training provided by an independent third party concerning dual relationships, discrimination, harassment, other misconduct, and retaliation which will include a review of our Code of Conduct and other applicable policies prohibiting the same. The Executive Director and the Board of Directors will also receive training by an independent third party on conducting employee investigations with respect to discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct.
We are taking these steps to continue to ensure that all people experiencing homelessness have a safe and accessible shelter available to them as well as continue to provide mechanism through which they are comfortable to report any discrimination, harassment or other inappropriate conduct so that it can be investigated and addressed, if needed.
1) Claim: if you are mentally ill or have an addiction, you can’t come to Bartlett Housing Solutions and won’t fit in.
Fact: The vast majority of people we serve struggle with mental health issues, as well as substance abuse disorders. Additionally, our apartments at West Run are a permanent supportive housing project that requires both chronic homelessness and an underlying disability (substance abuse and mental illness, both amount of disabilities). Rent is 30% of adjusted gross income; however, income is not required. If someone’s income is zero dollars, their rent is zero dollars. The apartments are one-bedroom, fully furnished apartments, which include everything from bath towels to plates, cups, pots/pans, and silverware.
Our case management staff works with each tenant in their apartment to connect them to resources to promote housing sustainability and stability. Transportation is provided to take tenants to medical appointments, employment, grocery store trips, etc. There is a resident Council meeting held monthly for tenants to discuss their home and community with staff and each other.
2) Claim: The rules at the shelter prohibit people from being able to utilize it.
Fact: The “rules” to stay at the shelter are:
Case Management will assist you in locating a unit, getting identification, and coordinating mainstream resources to promote your housing sustainability.
3) Claim: Bartlett just wants to keep people in the shelter for as long as possible and does not want them in community-based housing.
Fact: This could not be further from the truth. Bartlett strives to get folks into a stable housing placement as quickly as possible. We strive to do so in 30 days or less; however, due to the challenges of finding appropriate housing units that meet the client’s individual needs, we are averaging 60 days to transition folks out of the shelter.
4) Claim: Bartlett Housing is only a shelter; people need housing.
Fact: Bartlett housing solutions offers multiple programs. We have the emergency triage shelter located downtown, which serves as an emergency place to go if you have no other option. Once there, and assessment is done to identify your needs and goals. Then a referral can be made for a housing placement that meets those needs and goals. The shelter serves as a triage, much like an emergency room at the hospital. You are triaged and referred to as a housing program/placement based on your needs and wants. However, you can stay in triage until placement is available.
Bartlett also offers transitional housing, which provides 24-hour shelter in a suite with a private bathroom and community living space, such as a lounge and dining room where three meals are provided each day. Bartletts Rapid Re-Housing program is our community-based housing where we provide medium-term financial support in the form of security deposits and rent, while also providing intensive in-home case management to ensure housing sustainability.
Lastly, our permanent supportive housing and affordable housing programs provide fully furnished apartments, including dishes, towels, bedding, silverware, etc. This accommodation also provides onsite, in-home case management, transportation, and community support. The 1 bedroom apartments are for chronically homeless individuals with a disability (substance use and mental health qualify as disabilities), and rent is based on 30% of their adjusted gross income. Income is not required. If their income is zero, their rent is $0. Our 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartments are section 8 eligible for those wishing to utilize that option for subsidy.
5) Claim: Bartlett Housing Solutions has a long list of people banned from the shelter who aren’t allowed to stay there.
Fact: The only individuals not permitted at the shelter are those who were severely violent to staff or other clients, Additionally, when COVID hit, we suspended that and allowed everyone to utilize the facility which we operated 24 hours a day so that folks had a place to go. Bartlett never takes the decision lightly to prohibit anyone from entering the shelter. However, we must sometimes make that difficult decision if violence is involved to ensure the safety of all.
6) Claim: The existing system doesn’t work, and people were housed because of Diamond Village.
Fact: “The system” is what housed the people from Diamond Village. The WVCEH and Bartlett Housing Solutions were the agencies that housed every person at Diamond Village. Initially, there were 22 people at the encampment. There were 15 people housed, all of which were housed in either the WVCEH or Bartlett’s housing programs. There should be only seven people remaining at the encampment – as of today; there are 32.
7) Claim: Nobody meets those experiencing homelessness where they are or asks their input.
Fact: The entire model of “Housing First” and Housing Focused Shelter” is including the client in the development of their housing plan: Where do you want to live? What do you need to make that happen? How can we assist you in doing that? Do you want treatment? If you don’t want treatment, let’s ensure you can prioritize your housing so you can stay housed with an addiction. Additionally, we have resident councils and a person with lived experience on our board.
8) Claim: People are homeless because of an addiction or mental illness.
Fact: The vast majority of people in our country that have an addiction or severe mental health issue are housed. People are homeless because they lack a home.
9) Claim: The CDC states that you shouldn’t break up an encampment.
Fact: The CDC has stipulations and guidance for encampment, in this instance, which include masks, sanitary provisions, social distancing, not having new people in and out of the encampment, and daily screening for symptoms. This encampment is not practicing social distancing, is unsanitary; residents are not wearing masks and are in and out of the encampment as well as having visitors and are not being adequately monitored for COVID symptoms.
10) Claim: Bartlett staff and clients have sexually harassed, assaulted, stolen from, and discriminated against former clients.
Fact: Bartlett housing solutions have a grievance policy, which provides several different outlets for reporting grievances. We have NOT received ANY reports from any of the individuals in the encampment, or any agency working with them, outlining any specific staff member(s) or incident despite multiple requests. If anyone has information regarding these serious allegations, please email me at KDemasi@bartletthousingsoultions.org. Please provide as much detail as possible so that they can be investigated. We do not take these claims lightly at all. We do struggle with the helplessness of repeatedly being accused of such horrible things, without being provided with anything to investigate and to address – DESPITE MULTIPLE REQUESTS.
Our staff represents younger and older individuals, both male and female, with diverse sexual orientations so these allegations are incredibly hurtful and equally concerning if ever substantiated. They go against the core of who we are. Bartlett Housing Solutions has a zero-tolerance for any form of misconduct, including but not limited to: sexual harassment and assault and discrimination and will terminate any employee ever determined to be guilty of the same.
Bartlett proudly employs several former program participants and values their insight into our service delivery and codes of conduct. Additionally, Bartlett has a board member with lived experience to ensure the same. Again, please direct any and all reports of misconduct to the director at the email address listed above.
Finally, it is essential to note that upon research of most of the individuals staying at the encampment, for whom the advocacy group alleged misconduct, the vast majority are not reflected anywhere in the statewide database. Any and all clients that stay at any of Bartlett’s programs are included in that database. How can people make allegations against us if they have never utilized our services?
11) Claim: Bartlett doesn’t allow animals unless they are service animals, so they can’t come in if they have a pet.
Fact: All Bartlett Housing Solutions programs are pet-friendly. We have multiple pets in our programs.
12) Claim: Bartlett hasn’t gone down to the encampment at all and hasn’t housed anyone from there.
Fact: The current system of which aims to move folks into housing efficiently and effectively includes several avenues to do so: calling the Coordinated Entry number, going into the emergency shelter, or speaking to a street outreach worker. Bartlett provides the emergency shelter piece where the WVCEH provides the outreach worker and coordinated entry piece. Bartlett does not currently have an outreach position. Additionally, Bartlett’s team members have been down to the encampment to locate individuals whom we had a housing referral to move them into housing. Of the 15 people housed from the encampment: 100% of them were house by the WVCEH or Bartlett Housing Solutions. The very system that this group says isn’t working is the very system that housed them.
13) Claim: Bartlett isn’t open 24 hours, so the people have nowhere to go during the day.
Fact: The downtown triage shelter is not open 24 hours a day; however, as previously mentioned, the Triage Shelter is not a housing placement. The goal is to move people out of the shelter as quickly as possible into other housing programs (either our programs or the WVCEH’s housing programs), which are 24-hour programming.
14) Claim: Bartlett doesn’t offer a sense of community and family.
Fact: If you ask our clients this question, they will adamantly disagree. Our clients are outraged by the allegations alleged against us and have asked why no one is talking to them. Our PSH tenants are very much a family. They often visit each other in their apartments, have cookouts, cook together, go fishing together, and share items the others may need. During quarantine, we had a group page for everyone to share their needs and support because they couldn’t socialize the way they used to. Here are just a few examples of their community and support for one another.
15) Claim: Bartlett isn’t safe.
Fact: Bartlett Housing Solutions has cameras throughout the building for security and staff at all times. There have been zero reports of specific safety concerns from either staff or clients.
16) Claim: Bartlett’s shelter is infested with bed bugs.
Fact: This is simply not true. The shelter does not have bed bugs.
17) Claim: Bartlett has black mold.
Fact: The shelter does not have black mold.
18) Claim: Bartlett is filthy and dirty.
Fact: The shelter is old but in no way dirty. It is cleaned thoroughly at least 1 time per day with hospital-grade disinfectants and cleaner. New linen is issued each night and laundered by our staff.
Alan Brockman, Sigma Phi Delta, President says, “It is an honor to be recognized by Bartlett Housing Solutions! Sigma Phi Delta has been volunteering with Bartlett for several years, starting Downtown (when you were still called Bartlett House) and recently moving to the West Run location. Through Bartlett, our Brothers have had the opportunity to give back to the community and create meaningful experiences.”
The Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity has, since its founding on April 11, 1924 at the University of Southern California, has been a Professional-Social Fraternity of Engineers. We are Professional in that, unlike the General Fraternity, we admit to membership only students enrolled or working in a curriculum, or program, leading toward a degree in engineering; and that we encourage our members to give the fullest support to the faculty of the Colleges and Schools of Engineering throughout North America. Each week we are at Bartlett Housing Solutions, and we find ourselves helping Rick Green, the Facilities Manager in many ways; serving food, cleaning facilities, doing yard work, organizing supplies, and even renovating units for their next resident.
As an organization, we are striving to set an expectation for our younger members to continually give back to their community. We appreciate the continued flexibility and opportunity that Bartlett House provides to us every year!”
Bartlett Housing is so grateful to be the recipients of component funds of Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia, Inc. (YCF) from The Women’s Giving Circle of North Central West Virginia (WGC). Awards are presented annually to several local charitable organizations, and this year we were fortunate enough to receive funding!
WGC funds will provide the opportunity for women who have been financially abused to gain the skills they need to get back on their feet and move toward a more prosperous future. Class are being held weekly for our residents and are specially tailored to the needs of each resident.
Bartlett also received funds from a private, local foundation to support our anti-bullying program and monthly children’s birthday parties. Weekly classes help kids, and their parent learns how to identify and prevent bullying. Additional funds from this private foundation support The Bartlett Birthday Project, a monthly event designed to ensure all of our children have a great birthday. The Bartlett Birthday Project is the brain-child of Hannah Trickett (pictured right with party goer’s), a local community member dedicated to making sure that all of our children have cupcakes, gifts, games, and FUN on their special day. If you would like to help Hannah and our kids have a memorable birthday, please contact Hannah on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hannah.chamberstrickett.
Update, June 23, 2020: Bartlett Housing Solutions has transitioned from our initial COVID-19 operational standard to a more precautionary status, as our surrounding communities begin to reopen. However, our staff and residents are still required to uphold many of the operational standards initially implemented. We continue to hold the health and well-being of our residents and staff as our highest priority.
If you have questions regarding our COVID-19 Operational Standards, please contact our Executive Director at 304-292.0101.
April 2020: As our nation faces one of the most difficult times in recent history, Bartlett Housing Solutions is taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both our residents and our staff. As of March 16, 2020, both of our facilities are on lockdown. All clients are told to shelter in place. Staff efforts are focused on providing 24-hour coverage at both facilities as well as coordinating food and supplies to bring in to our clients. Provisions have also been made to go out and pick up needed items, including medications for our clients.
In addition, the additional operational changes have been implemented:
At this time, we cannot allow clients to leave the facilities and return. If clients leave, they will not be permitted to return. Similarly, we cannot take any new clients at the shelter at this time. Please understand that these difficult decisions were made to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
The WVU School of Nursing https://nursing.wvu.edu/ remains committed to providing the highest level of undergraduate professional nursing education while expanding opportunities for graduate education. To this end, many of the faculty continue to practice as healthcare providers in clinics, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations. This “real-world” experience gives the faculty (and students) unique perspectives because they are actively caring for patients. For the past eight years, Ms. Susan Pinto, a faculty member of WVU School of Nursing, has been providing individual and group health-related services to Bartlett Housing Solutions. This January, Susan informed Bartlett staff of her decision to retire at the end of the semester.
“Susan Pinto serves as a brilliant example of how a gifted educator can foster and nurture a program, so the needs of the community and those of higher education come together and produce quality outcomes for real people,” says Joe Sengewalt, Bartlett’s Client Services Manager. “Susan and her team have provided invaluable medical services to our residents since 2012. At any given time, we have upwards of 50—60 residents at Nitor Suites and Apartments located at 10 West Run Road, Morgantown, WV. Many of these individuals have highly complex needs, with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. Susan’s team works seamlessly with our staff, making themselves available to all our residents each week while school is in session. She provides a high level of professional care coupled with a sincere empathy for the underserved population we serve. Her engagement with our clients includes assessment and referral for health care and serving as an advocate when there is an issue with access to care. Susan also collaborates with various health professions faculty and offers opioid education at Bartlett Housing Solutions staff’s request.
“The WVU School of Nursing class “Nursing 411” is a comprehensive theoretical introduction to community health nursing paired with clinical experience focused on promoting health and preventing disease in multiple populations. The class culminates in a Capstone project that addresses an identified community health need. At Bartlett Housing Nitor Suites and Apartments, Susan leads students as they work with our residents each week. With an emphasis on self-empowerment, students encourage residents to develop ongoing relationships with their primary care providers and the health care system. She helps to coordinate inter-professional health-related screenings and education, and provides direct, ongoing oversight to these nursing students while they are on site. Students serve various roles in our setting with a focus on health education and socialization. Based on assessed needs, together, they work with residents to develop self-care strategies.
Susan Pinto is one of those rare, high caliber individuals who consistently demonstrate such a high level of dedication to our residents that she has become an integral part of our client programming. So much so that we have come to think of her as a part of the Bartlett Housing “family.” We will sorely miss Susan, but know her legacy includes having designed and developed a robust, evidence-based program that will continue to impact our resident’s health for years to come. We are deeply indebted to Susan for the essential services she has provided to our professional staff and especially our residents. Our thanks also go out to Dr. Toni DiChiacchio, Assistant Dean at the School of Nursing, for agreeing to work with us to find a way to continue Susan’s work in the future.
WVU School of Nursing students and faculty are an integral part of the community and take pride in providing valuable resources that improve the lives of people living all over the world. Along with the program at Bartlett, the School has faculty-led clinics, including a local diabetes clinic, and provides mental health services to those who need it. For more information on these community-based activities, please go to https://nursing.wvu.edu/community-global-engagement/.
With the help of Clear Mountain Bank, Bartlett Housing Solutions will be receiving a $700,000 grant to increase affordable, multi-bedroom housing for people experiencing homelessness in Monongalia County, WV. Each year housing developers partner with Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh members to apply for funding through the bank’s Affordable Housing Program (FHLB AHP). This grant opportunity is offered through one competitive funding round each year.
Grants are awarded to the highest-scoring projects until the round funds are exhausted. FHLB AHP received 165 competitive applications for 2019 AHP funding, and they were able to commit funding to 64 of those projects. Bartlett, a provider of services of people experiencing homelessness, was a successful applicant. “Bartlett Housing Solutions provides vitally important programs and services to our community,” said Robert Flockvich, Director of Community Outreach and Retail Lending for Clear Mountain Bank. “We are pleased to be able to support them in the successful submission of their application and providing the funds to enable them to provide affordable housing through the Affordable Sustainable Housing Opportunities Require Empowerment (ASHORE) grant project.” Bartlett will use the grant award to construct four 3-bedroom apartments on the West Run Road in Morgantown, WV. “Many people in Monongalia County struggle to find multi-bedroom, affordable housing that is also acceptable to rental subsidy program guidelines,” says Keri DeMasi, CEO and Director of Bartlett Housing Solutions. “Future residents will benefit from reliable, short-term housing, says DeMasi. “These residents will receive intensive case management, and resources for transportation and child care, if they need it.
Also, the ASHORE apartments will provide the opportunity for people to secure employment and move from the threat of homelessness to permanent housing.” DeMasi believes, “The community will benefit from their project, as it will increase employment opportunities and contribute to local businesses through commerce.” An estimated 18 to 24 individual family members will be directly helped annually, with each having an income that is 50 percent or less of the area median income. The apartments include two fully accessible apartments, a playground, a fenced-in yard for pets, and a community garden. The ASHORE project is to be built in a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development area. Construction is on schedule to begin in late Spring or early Summer of 2020.
Congress’s latest coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is the most substantial economic relief bill in U.S. history. It includes a new above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemizer deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to cash contributions made in 2020 and can be claimed on tax forms next year. Section 2204. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the law increases the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap. Section 2205.
Please contact the IRS or a tax professional for up to date information on this opportunity.
Bartlett Housing Solutions focuses on assisting some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens. We must continue to meet the basic needs of our clients during the COVID-19 crisis. Our Emergency/Triage Shelter has been open 24 hours a day since March 17, 2020. At our Nitor Suites and Apartments, the work continues, every day. All meals are being provided seven days a week so that our clients will not have to leave the facilities. We are operating on a self-quarantine operation schedule with staff members being pulled from other areas to provide coverage during this time.
Beginning May & June 2020, we are offering an opportunity for you to join and support us through our matching donation program. Any donation we receive from you will be matched by one of our grant programs! We so sincerely appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from our community, but the hard work has just begun. Won’t you join us in providing services to those who need it the most? Donations can be made by clicking here or mailed to our address.
Sincerely, Keri Demasi
CEO/Executive Director, Bartlett Housing Solutions