Wheeling receives go ahead to dismantle homeless encampments under new specific regulations

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Wheeling, W.Va (WTRF) — Judge John Bailey has ordered the City of Wheeling be
enjoined from conducting any cleaning of homeless encampments unless and until the
following procedural requirements are met:

A. The City of Wheeling shall post notices of its intended action at any
encampment to be removed in such places as are most likely to be seen and read by the
inhabitants thereof
B. Such notices must be posted at least two (2) weeks prior to the intended
action
C. The City of Wheeling must provide at least two (2) weeks written notice to the
Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless, Project Hope, and any other group or
agency which requests to be included in such notifications.
D. On the day upon which crews show up to dismantle an encampment, the
crews must, upon request, give any inhabitants present a period of two hours in which to
remove their personal property.

The court also ordered the city to select a new date and provide proper notice to those affected. Also being ordered is for the Wheeling Police Department to dismiss this action and that The State of West Virginia be substituted as a defendant in the place and stead of the West Virginia Division of Highways

ACLU-WV has issued the following statement following today’s decision in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia regarding the tear down of homeless camps in the city of Wheeling.

We’re pleased the Court agrees that the amount of notice given to the encampment residents to vacate their homes—72 hours—was woefully insufficient and does not meet the standards required by the Constitution. The decision today means that the City must now provide a minimum of two weeks notice to residents before dismantling an encampment. We appreciate the court requiring better notice from the City and affirming the rights of some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. We now hope the city will step back now and reconsider moving forward and displacing these community members. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and to move these residents from their homes without access to safe and adequate housing is in contravention to CDC guidelines and creates a significant public health risk.

Even some homelessness advocates had this to say…

“A lot of saddness and a lot of anger too. I feel really sad for my good friends who have so little are going to be further displaced and traumatized.”

Nic Cochran, Homeless Advocate

“I am heartbroken that for folks, such as yourselves, who I know have faced so much trauma in your life often starting at childhood that you’re once again perhaps experiencing another greater trauma or another experience of rejection.”

Kate Marshall, Homeless Advocate

To read the full restraining order and preliminary injunction from the United States District Court For The Northern District of West Virginia click the link below.

This is a developing story so stay with 7News for any updates.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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