ACLU-WV Sues City of Wheeling Over Continued Unlawful Actions Against Homeless Community

September 2, 2020 6:45 pm

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) and attorneys Patrick Cassidy and Timothy F. Cogan of the Cassidy, Cogan, Shapell & Voegelin, L.C. law firm are taking legal action today to stop the city of Wheeling from destroying more encampments occupied by homeless community members.

The city already destroyed at least one encampment in April, but then backed off of plans to destroy more after ACLU-WV threatened legal action. It is now the understanding of affected community members that more encampments are slated for destruction as early as this Friday, Sept. 4.

The city has offered no alternative housing solutions to the people it intends to displace. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explicitly states that homeless encampments are not to be destroyed during the COVID-19 pandemic, because doing so will displace people into communities and increase likelihood of community spread.

“Destroying what little shelter these community members have does nothing to solve the crisis of homelessness in our communities. In fact, it greatly exacerbates the problem,” ACLU-WV Legal Director Loree Stark said. “To do this during a global pandemic when so many people have lost their livelihoods and homes is not only cruel, but also unlawful.”

“Why are we targeting the homeless when fellow citizens are dying from the coronavirus? Wheeling, we can be better than this,” Cassidy said.

The Complaint can be viewed here: city-wheeling-over-continued-unlawful-actions-against-homeless-community

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