Close up portrait of an elderly man with wrinkles on his forehead and facial hair including a mustache, beard, and hair, wearing a yellow t-shirt, sitting in front of a wooden door.
"The homeless have a large problem in Morgantown. It's not just the services. There's a difference in opinion about homelessness when they meet you on the street. You're kind of shunned; they put you in a category that's less than human, and that bothers me. It bothers me quite a bit."
What follows is a lightly edited transcript

I’m from Belle Vernon, Pa. I used to work in Washington, Pa, for the CSC – Construction Supply Company – and I transferred to Morgantown. When I retired from the CSC (I got sick and had to retire), things just spiraled downhill. Then I met the executive director of the Caritas House which provides housing for homeless people. I moved away for about four years, and when I came back, I spiraled downhill again because of the drug situation where I was. I don’t do drugs, and I don’t drink, but it got serious where it was before, and the director said, “I have a place for you up here; we have a new place. We’re going to move you up here,” so I’ve been here ever since.

The biggest challenge being homeless is finding the services and trying to reorganize your life again and getting where you’re comfortable with yourself. And you have to do that. If you don’t, you keep spiraling downhill.

If I were president for a day, I’d make sure funds would be allocated to places like the Caritas House and to build similar places – not a building to pile people in but homes or apartments – and not just in West Virginia but all over the United States.

My plan for the future is to get most of my health back – I’m pretty bionic now – they keep putting stuff into me! I’m getting physical things done when just a couple of years ago I was in pretty bad shape. Now at least I have a roof over my head, and I’m in a nice place – Caritas. I’m content and help other people when I can.

I’m good at communicating with a lot of officials and different people that can help with the situation. Every Sunday, I go down and have a chitchat with the police and the ones that come out for coffee at the Blue Moose – that’s my favorite spot. I don’t drive, and transportation is really a problem up here. While here, we can come out anytime we please; the transportation stops at 5:30 pm, and there is no way you can get up and down to every place, but I used to go downtown. I don’t sing. I sing solos – so low they can’t hear me and ask me to leave!