Akron Tent City Owner Says He Hopes to Work With the City On Solutions For Homeless People

Dec 3, 2017

Neighbors have complained about Second Chance Village, but Sage Lewis -- an advocate for the homeless, who operates the tent city -- says he's willing to work with the city to avoid a shut down.
Credit MARK AREHART / WKSU

The operator of a tent city for homeless people says he hopes to work with officials in Akron to address neighborhood concerns.

Sage Lewis has spent the past decade running a homeless charity out of his office building east of downtown. In the past few months, neighbors have complained about people sleeping behind the building in about 30 tents. The city says the tents need to go, or Lewis can apply for zoning that allows for a campsite. He says he’s interested in the latter option, and also in an invitation to sit down with city officials and social service agencies to address concerns about sanitation and the health risks of approaching winter weather.

“We have port-a-potties. We have a toilet and shower inside. We have a laundry facility. And none of that will exist if they’re forced to leave our facility. We’re working on another ADA-compliant bathroom right now.”

The city says it also hopes to work with Lewis, and adds that even if he decides to do nothing, it could still be months before anything significant happens with the property.

Lewis is also facing a civil suit from a neighbor, who says he wants the tent city shut down, plus $100,000 to buy a new house and to cover attorneys’ fees.