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Homeless shelter must relocate

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

Essex County Homeless Organization opened its shelter in Tappahannock on January 1, 2019 as planned; but the organization has to close the facility on March 31 and find a new place to go.

Essex County didn’t issue the certificate of occupancy for the shelter until December 28, 2018. Still, the organization managed to open on time and operations have been running smoothly. “People in the community have stepped up to make sure the facility is staffed according to the plan, and churches are becoming more active participants,” said Mary Wigmore, vice president of the board of directors for ECHO.

As of last week, the facility served nine people, offering a total of 44 nights of shelter between them. “We are doing what we set out to do and the shelter is making a real difference in these people’s lives,” she adds.

But it’s a resource that is once again in jeopardy.

ECHO is currently operating the shelter at 486 Hospital Road in a house that belongs to Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, and they were hoping to stay there. But the lease ends March 31, 2019 and the hospital decided not to renew it.

“We’ve been very good tenants. There haven’t been any disturbances or threats to the community. All of the horror stories people imagined were going to happen, none of that has happened,” said Wigmore. “But the hospital said they have other plans for the property.”

For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 2/12/19