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YSS Winter Freeze Shelter Opens Early, Welcomes Guests at Former Hillcrest Site Tonight

Posted 12/07/21

Above from left, YSS employee Perry McMasters accepts donations for the Winter Freeze Shelter from St. Michael Parish; West Liberty University women's basketball team members deliver supplies to YSS; Vineyard Church volunteers unload boxes filled with meals they prepared for the shelter.

December 6, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Betsy Bethel-McFarland, 304-218-2894,

WHEELING — Youth Services System will welcome guests tonight to its Winter Freeze Shelter, located for the second year in the former Hillcrest facility on Eoff Street. Men and women experiencing homelessness are invited to the shelter for a hot meal, a warm bed and friendly fellowship.

The shelter is in its 13th season. It formerly was located on the fourth floor of the agency’s administrative building at 87 15th St. Last year because of concerns about the COVID-19 virus, YSS approached the city, which agreed to the use of the larger, city-owned space for the shelter.

The shelter is opening nine days early in preparation for the impending dismantlement of the encampment under the WV 2 overpass on 18th Street, where about 20 people have been living. The state Division of Highways has asked the city to remove the encampment, which is located on state property, by Dec. 15.

YSS CEO John Moses said the two-fold purpose of the Winter Freeze Shelter is to save lives and prevent serious illnesses during the coldest months of the year. Since opening in December 2009, the shelter has served an average of 148 individuals annually. In 2020-21, 194 individuals stayed at the shelter at least one night.

“We operate a low-bar shelter, which means we don’t ask for identification, we don’t check to see if you’re sober. The only thing we ask is that there be no violence. We want everyone to be safe and feel safe here,” Moses said.

The shelter is supported by various local businesses, individuals, schools, churches and foundations. Wheeling Linen provides linens and donates laundry services throughout the season, which ends March 15. Medical professionals who volunteer with Project HOPE street medicine, a service of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, treat guests every Friday night. The Vineyard Church in Wheeling cooks 50-60 nights’ worth of meals.

Dozens of groups hold supply drives in the months leading up to the opening and throughout the season. The next supply drop-off event will be a Stuff the Truck at Covenant Community Church in Wheeling on Dec. 16.

For more information, visit Donations may be made on the website or by texting FREEZE to 44-321. Checks may be made out to Youth Services System, with Winter Freeze Shelter in the memo line, and sent to YSS, 87 15th St., Wheeling, WV 26003.



Click the links to view TV coverage announcing the shelter opening: