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Akron Protestors Urge City to Work With Second Chance Village Residents

photo of Sage Lewis, Andrea Fahey, Tara Samples
Andrea Fahey (left) listens as Second Chance Village property owner Sage Lewis (center) and Councilwoman Tara Samples (right) discuss the possibility of making vacant houses -- which are slated for demolition -- available to homeless people.

About two-dozen people were in Hardesty Park Sunday to protest Akron’s order to close a large homeless camp.

City Council last month denied a zoning request that would have allowed Second Chance Village to remain open.  The camp in the Middlebury neighborhood has been open since early 2017 and includes about 40 people living on a commercial property owned by entrepreneur Sage Lewis.

Andrea Fahey from Akron has been homeless in the past, and helped organize yesterday’s event.  She says Akron should be working with Lewis to find a way to keep the tent city open.

“The base message is, ‘leave the tent city alone.’  But the bigger message is to basically say, this is a real issue, the homeless are a problem.  And it’s not that they are the cause of the problem, but it’s a sign of a deeper issue.”

Residents have until Thanksgiving to leave Second Chance Village. Akron officials are working to find housing for the residents within 60 days.  Sage Lewis says he hopes to work with the Summit County Land Bank to find vacant houses for the people now living on his property.