WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – The ACLU is now involved in the controversy over the City of Wheeling tearing down several homeless camps.
The organization says if the city doesn’t commit in writing that they will stop destroying the camps, the ACLU will take legal action. They say tearing down homeless camps is a bad idea in the best of times.
In the midst of a pandemic, they say it’s a public health nightmare, not just for the homeless but for everyone.
Because the other thing that will happen is that people who are displaced from the camps will go out into the community carrying the virus and expose other people.Loree Stark, Legal Director – ACLU West Virginia
They are requesting that the city commit to two things: stop tearing down the homeless camps and to finding alternative housing for the people who are displaced.
Stark says other cities nationwide are doing something else for the homeless.
Particularly we’re seeing the use of hotel rooms which I think makes a lot of sense right now, given that those are empty and a lot of places are vacant.Loree Stark, Legal Director – ACLU West Virginia
She says the ACLU is treating this as an urgent matter.
At 5 p.m. today (April 20, 2020), we’ll be prepared to move forward if we have to, with some kind of litigation.Loree Stark, Legal Director – ACLU West Virginia
ACLU officials confirmed a response from the City of Wheeling and it is currently under review. A comment is expected Tuesday.