House to Home assists people in the community

Editor’s note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

PARKERSBURG – For people who need a place to spend the day, to clean up, to do laundry or look for a job, the House to Home day shelter has been providing that service for over 20 years.

Funds from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley provide operational money for the House To Home day shelter for the homeless, located at 413 Eighth St., Parkersburg. Operated by the Parkersburg Area Coalition for the Homeless, the shelter was founded in 1989 and incorporated in 1990.

Operations manager Jessica Towner said the non-profit shelter operates on donations, occasional grants and United Way funding. The shelter is open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“Throughout the winter, we have extended the hours,” Towner said of the past winter, with its snow storms and cold temperatures.

“This past winter was especially hard,” she said.

For the last several months, the House to Home has been averaging 40-45 people each day for six days a week. Kenneth Mays has been receiving assistance at the shelter for about a year.

“It’s been a real help,” Mays said of the support and assistance he has received at the shelter.

“Throughout the day, we try to provide a place – a shower, an indoor bathroom, snacks, computer services, laundry services, referrals if they need medication or some kind of treatment. Basically, it’s a place to come and get out of the weather,” Towner said.

“The United Way has been a big contributor in keeping the doors open here,” she said. “Those donations definitely make a difference.”

Towner said the support provided by United Way is of “huge” importance for the shelter and its programs. While the shelter receives a variety of donations from the community – including money and materials – the support from United Way helps keep the doors open and the building kept up, along with providing necessary supplies, she said.

“It’s something you can count on,” she said.

Towner said the shelter’s staff and volunteers try to help in whatever ways they can. This year, she has helped several people file tax returns, sign up for Social Security and Medicare and provided other types of assistance.

“It’s whatever they need, whatever we can do to help,” she said.

The shelter is always looking for volunteers and for help with fundraising. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter during operational hours. Clothing and shoes for men, women and children are always needed as well as personal hygiene items.

House To Home’s service area is Wood, Doddridge, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie and Wirt counties in West Virginia, and Washington County in Ohio.

Speakers are available to talk to groups. To schedule a speaker, or for more information on volunteer opportunities call the shelter at 304-893-5352.

For volunteer opportunities, contact the shelter, 413 Eighth St., Parkersburg, by calling 304-893-5352. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter during operational hours of 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.