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West Virginia releases first comprehensive study on homelessness – WV MetroNews

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West Virginia releases first comprehensive study on homelessness – WV MetroNews


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new study on homelessness released by the state Department of Human Services (DoHS) this week highlights the diverse demographics and challenges many people face across the state.

Christina Mullins

It’s the first comprehensive study of homelessness in the state required by state law.

SB 239, which lawmakers passed during the 2023 legislative session, required the Bureau for Behavioral Health to complete the study.

The study shows more than half (58%) of people experiencing homelessness are men. About 13% of homeless individuals in West Virginia identified as Black or African American, which is higher than the 3.7% of the total state population that identifies as Black or African American.

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Nearly half (48%) of those experiencing homelessness were between the ages of 25 to 44, which Christina Mullins, Deputy Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders at DoHS, said is fairly younger.

“It also kind of aligns with what we see in some our overdose patterns, so we know that folks are going to be a lot more vulnerable in that age group to addiction and potential overdose as well,” Mullins told MetroNews Tuesday.

Mullins said there are complex drivers that are causing homelessness across the state. Mental health and addiction are the main reasons, but some have experienced an accident, the loss of a job, lack of affordable housing, being released from correctional facilities and other situations.

“Some of the folks talked about domestic violence, abusive childhoods, illness or disabilities or a lot of other traumas, but we also know from the study that mental health and substance use disorder were definitely also drivers of people experiencing homelessness,” she said.

The majority of individuals experiencing homelessness were long-term residents of West Virginia. Many cited the availability of services, proximity to family, and personal relationships as reasons for relocating to or within West Virginia. The study found most homeless individuals were located in larger cities near more services.

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“Where there are more services, we also tend to have more people in those areas and we do have more people experiencing homelessness clustered in those areas,” Mullins said.

Often times, Mullins said these individuals are unaware of the help they can get.

“We’ve got to look at the gaps,” she said. “Some of the things that we saw are people not knowing how to access services, so we have to do a better job of communicating that and making that easily accessible,” she said.

Mullins said with the results of this study, DoHS and other state agencies are now better equipped to support the homeless population.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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West Virginia

Three-year contract agreed to by union and Optimum workers in West Virginia – WV MetroNews

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Three-year contract agreed to by union and Optimum workers in West Virginia – WV MetroNews


BECKLEY, W.Va. — A new deal has been reached for telecommunication workers under the Optimum brand in southern West Virgnia.

On Wednesday, members of the Communications Workers of America reached a deal with Altice USA, the telecommunications company for Optimum, that includes a 7.69% compound wage increase over the three-year deal and minimum salaries for technicians.

Negotiations have been ongoing in the recent months between the parties, as CWA members agreed to strike if a new deal was not made.

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Optimum workers agreed to work under the previous contract for an extra two-week extension, through July 12. A tentative deal was reached last week and was completed Wednesday.

The three-year contract will cover members of CWA across the Beckley and Logan areas.



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West Virginia

2024 West Virginia Little League State Tournament

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2024 West Virginia Little League State Tournament


CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The 2024 West Virginia Little League State Tournament is underway in Chapmanville.

Teams from Charleston Central, Hurricane, Barboursville, and Huntington competed on Tuesday.

The four teams competed for the chance to head to Georgia.

Barboursville came out on top of Huntington on Tuesday night and Hurricane pulled off the win 5 to 4 against Charleston Central.

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Back To School Immunization And Restoring Native Bamboo This West Virginia Morning – West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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Back To School Immunization And Restoring Native Bamboo This West Virginia Morning – West Virginia Public Broadcasting


On this West Virginia Morning, the Department of Health is reminding parents of the importance of immunization. And Briana Heaney talked to Democratic state legislators about their support for Vice President Kamala Harris, their party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Also, a species of bamboo native to Appalachia was nearly wiped out, but volunteers in southwestern Virginia are trying to restore the plant.

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West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from Shepherd University.

Eric Douglas produced this episode.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 a.m. on WVPB Radio or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning

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