Homeless Community in Akron Looks to Comply with Zoning Rules

Apr 10, 2018

Gary Mikes handles maintenance and construction for Second Chance Village.
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Second Chance Village, a tent city for the homeless behind a thrift store in east Akron, is under threat of removal by the city for violating zoning laws.  But the people who live there have organized themselves and are formally applying for a conditional-use zoning permit. 

About sixty Second Chance Village residents and their supporters packed the Akron City Council meeting last night—with even more out in the hallway.  They came to tell council of the application, and ask for its approval when it comes up for consideration. 

Gary Mikes lives in the village, builds and fixes things there and teaches others how to do that too. He says it has to stay open because it’s nurturing a future people need. “We’re not only just looking to employ homeless people. But the non-profit is going to taking these houses that the city has that are vacant, and purchasing them, and putting people in them that are homeless.”

Akron 5th Ward Councilwoman Tara Mosely-Samples supports Second Chance Village's application for a zoning change.
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples is a supporter. “It’s going to come up in planning commission. And I hope the City does the right thing.”

There are about 35 homeless currently living in Second Chance Village.