Martin addresses Parkersburg Rotary Club

PARKERSBURG – In its first few months in operation, the Latrobe Street Mission has been able to help more than 300 people through its emergency shelter and growing number of services.

Shad Martin, director of the mission, spoke with the Parkersburg Rotary Club during its weekly meeting Monday to discuss the mission’s goals and upcoming plants.

Martin said the Latrobe Street Mission is about different organizations working together. He said the goal is to partner with more businesses and organizations to provide every asset to help individuals.

The Parkersburg area has a variety of programs and services available to help people, but there are still gaps which can be filled, he said. The Latrobe Street Mission grew out of a need for a longer term facility, a place to help people remain on the road to recovery, Martin said.

“It’s not a government problem, it’s not a church problem, it’s a community problem. We need to work together to address this problem,” he said.

The mission at 1825 Latrobe St. is 15,000 square feet in the former Storck Bakery. It provides emergency shelter for men, women and children, a kitchen, dining room facilities, showers and restrooms, longer term transitional housing of 12-18 months and a thrift shop.

So far, he said, they have been able to place several families in permanent housing, helped place others in employment and provided a base for others who have gone on to find their own employment.

The Latrobe Street Mission opened its doors on Dec. 3 with three people and grew to 95 by the end of that first month. At the current time, the mission averages about 60-70 residents a night.

Since it opened – and in the months of work prior to that involved in setting it up – Martin said the mission has received great support from the local church community and from many individuals. The next step will involve reaching out to the local business community to get local business owners involved in helping the mission as well, he said.

Martin said the mission has two more projects in the planning stages, a kitchen project and transitional apartments and dormitories on the second floor.

“It’s been really busy for us,” Martin said of the shelter’s first winter season, which continued this past weekend with more snow and lingering cold temperatures. “During the cold months, during the day, we don’t ask anyone to leave so it makes it very hectic and kind of busy, but it’s been very manageable. All of our residents are very good about volunteering while they are there and giving their time back,” he said.