CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) has filed an emergency request for a temporary restraining order against the City of Wheeling to stop the city from bulldozing tent encampments belonging to unhoused people.

Residents of tent encampments were awoken early Thursday morning by city officials telling them they need to vacate and that their campsites would be destroyed at 10 a.m. This came about 36 hours after city officials falsely claimed that a process had existed for individuals and organizations to request exemptions from the city’s so-called “camping ban.” Many of the people whose sites were being destroyed had just submitted requests for exemptions the day before.

“Throughout this debacle, Wheeling has been a bad-faith actor,” ACLU-WV Legal Director Aubrey Sparks said. “The city ignored requests to talk about exemptions to the habitation ban for months, created a new process out of thin air this week, and then destroyed people’s shelters anyway.”

The request was filed in the Northern District Court of West Virginia.  


The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) filed a lawsuit Tuesday evening to block Wheeling’s habitation ban, which criminalizes being homeless in public. ACLU-WV previously gave the city four days to reconsider enforcement of the ban, which took effect on Jan. 1. Wheeling City Council met Tuesday night, and while councilmembers briefly discussed the ban, they took no action to pause it. The suit was filed shortly after the meeting adjourned. Attorney Alex Risovich is cooperating attorney on the case, which was filed on behalf of clients Heather Corn and House of Hagar Catholic Worker House.