POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Homeless Shelter is still hopeful that it will receive a grant for a new shelter.
As previously reported by the Register, John Machir, housing director at the shelter, said the shelter applied for a grant through the Affordable Housing Program. If awarded the funding, the organization wants to build a new shelter that will double the capacity of the current shelter.
Machir said they have completed the first hurdle for the grant selection process, which was for the selection committee to closely examine the proposal to make sure the project is feasible. The homeless shelter’s proposal was sent to the next step, which was to answer more questions about the funding and how the program operates. Machir said they completed their answers and are now waiting to see if they are awarded. The grant award winners should be announced before Christmas.
The shelter has been working on this expansion plan for two years.
Machir said the current shelter, which is a 92-year old house on 12th Street in Point Pleasant, can shelter 12 people and has operated at 95 – 103 percent capacity in the last few months. There are eight beds in the male dorm and four in the female dorm. Machir said the shelter often sees a need for more male beds than female beds in the area.
In the last year, Machir said the shelter has turned away 111 families with children because there was no bed space available. Machir said in one weekend, he had to turn away 12 families.
If awarded the funding, Machir said the organization would be building a new shelter with a ground level food pantry, which would be more easily accessible and would ideally have a refrigerator and freezer. They would also add three family rooms that could house four to five people. Machir said it would be possible that these rooms could sleep six if the family had a couple toddler and/or infant children.
The Mason County Homeless Shelter is the only shelter for around 40 miles. Machir said he takes residents from Mason and Jackson counties in W.Va. and Gallia, Meigs and Jackson counties in Ohio.
Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.