BERKELEY SPRINGS, W,Va, — September 9th this year will mark a significant event in efforts around the Panhandle to help those in need of shelter.

That’s when the baton will be passed, and the Morgan County Homeless Coalition will be placed under the umbrella of the  Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission.

Martinsburg Superintendent Pastor Tim Guerino says the two entities have been meeting for about 9 months to talk about the idea.  “Officially, July 25th, we signed the paperwork that the

Morgan County Homeless Coalition merged into the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission,” he said.

The Morgan County Homeless Coalition has for years operated cold weather shelters out of various churches from November through April, according to Pastor Tim.

The Morgan County group has undertaken work on a nine-bed women’s shelter called the Hope House. “They’re renting a building from a church and they’re remodeling it.  They’re almost finished,” he said.

Guerino says the merger will allow a comprehensive approach to providing even more services to those in need of emergency housing.  “So now, the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission is going to have the family transitional shelter, (the 604 Project),  we’re going to have the women’s shelter (in Morgan County), and the men’s shelter (off King Street in Martinsburg.

The Hope House Women’s Shelter and the nearly-complete 604 Project for family housing in Martinsburg could be up and running by November 1st, according to Pastor Tim,
who said the two newer shelters would augment the services already provided by the existing Men’s Shelter along King Street in Martinsburg.

Guerino said the merger will be beneficial to those in Morgan County.  “(It’s) not going to diminish the services.  It’s going to increase the services,”  he said.  “They’re going to have now the full force of the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission behind them,” adding the Union Rescue Mission operation brings with it a lot of resources.

“Our goal is to eventually open up a thrift store up there to support the ministry of the shelter up there,” he said.

Hope House is located at 47 union street in Berkeley Springs.

Guerino said the 604 Project needs to raise $200,000 more before it can be open, even though most of the renovation work is done.  For more information about the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission, click here:

For more information about the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission, click here:

Pastor Tim Guerino was a recent guest on Panhandle Live on WEPM/WCST The Panhandle News Network.