WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF) – This time, it’s not due to any alleged crime or behavior issues.
This camp, beneath the underpass on 18th Street, is on property owned by the state, and officials say they’ve had complaints.
The signs were posted Wednesday. Advocates for the homeless say at first, the state wanted the camp gone by Thanksgiving. However, with the help of the city’s new homeless liaison, they at least got the date pushed back to December 15.
We’re disrupting their whole lives for the umteenth time now and it’s not the City of Wheeling’s fault. It was the Department of Highways that came to the City and wanted them to disband it. And now the City and all the agencies involved are trying to come up with a permanent solution to this problem so these people don’t have to go through this year after year.Lynn Kettler, Street MOMs
Advocates for the homeless say this camp is like the handicap section of homelessness. It houses amputees and the severely mentally and physically challenged.
Social workers say the spot is actually a good one for this population.
They’re the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. They have issues that make it really pertinent for them to be close to social services, which they are, being directly across the street from the Catholic Neighborhood Center.Kate Marshall, House of Hagar
The people who reside in the camp are being evicted just as winter sets in.
It’s also happening around the holiday season, which can already be traumatic for a lot of individuals who are housed, so for those who are unhoused, it brings almost like a double whammy.Kate Marshall, House of Hagar
The good news is that YSS has agreed to open the Winter Freeze Shelter early, on December 6 instead of December 15, but that’s just for overnights, and only for three months.
There’s also a daytime warming center opening in the St. Alphonsus’ rec room, for several hours a day, but none of these is an answer to the question of where these people will live.
Imagine getting two weeks to move out of your home? It’s impossible. We don’t have a place to put them. Everybody’s asking where can we move to. Nobody has an answer for that.Lynn Kettler, Street MOMs
Ideally if we had the ability to have a space particularly for those most vulnerable to live in a managed encampment situation, we could have outreach workers in there. We could have rules posted and there could be community resources to help them get back up on their feet.Kate Marshall, House of Hagar
Advocates plan to take bins, crates and suitcases to the camp next week to give people the ability to pack up their belongings.