The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia is urging the City of Parkersburg to reconsider a proposed ordinance “Imposing A Moratorium Upon New Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Group Residential Facilities.”

The proposed ordinance, scheduled for its first reading on Tuesday 7/13, would impose a full ban on “new substance abuse rehabilitation” facilities for a year, citing a connection between individuals being evicted from or voluntarily terminating their involvement with a program resulting in a high number of people from outside the area remaining there and often becoming homeless.  Though the ordinance outlines this as a justification for the policy, they do not provide any data that provides a direct correlation between the goal of the proposed ordinance and its justification.

In the ACLU-WV’s letter Legal Director Loree Stark states that the proposed ordinance “will be in blanket violation of a host of laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and state laws, including the West Virginia Human Rights Act and the West Virginia Fair Housing Act,” and would “almost certainly be found to violate the rights guaranteed under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

This ordinance is part of a state-wide pattern of municipalities and the state legislature further marginalizing some of our most vulnerable populations rather than meeting them with compassion or working to provide support.  The ACLU-WV is urging Parkersburg to reconsider this ordinance before moving forward.

Read the full letter to the City of Parkersburg below.