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Homeless Charity Takes Legal Action to Save Tent City

Homeless encampment, Akron, OH
Second Chance Village has offered homeless people a place to stay for the past 18 months.

The operator of a homeless camp on Akron’s east side is suing the city. The move is aimed at keeping the tent village open despite a city-imposed Thanksgiving deadline for shutting it down.       

Jeff Rowes (l) and Sage Lewis at news conference
Attorney Jeff Rowes of The Institute for Justice, and Homeless Charity founder Sage Lewis

For a year and a half Sage Lewis has been letting 40 or so homeless people live behind a commercial building he owns in the Middlebury neighborhood.  Last month Akron City Council voted down a zoning variance for the camp and ordered it closed. Lewis is suing. He says it’s his private property and if he wants to let people stay there he can.

Lewis’s attorney Jeff Rowes believes he’s right. And he says, the City should rethink the whole issue. “Sage is pioneering an innovative model using private property, private money to shelter people for dollars a day. This is a model that could be replicated across the country.  And the city should be working with Sage.”

Rowes says the court action is meant to gain a  temporary reprieve from the closing order. He says Lewis still wants to work with the city on long-term solutions.