You should know that I see the homeless issue as a civil rights issue.
Cities across America just want the homeless to disappear.
A nonprofit builds a shelter. Some churches serve some food. And they consider the problem solved.
Yet I can tell you first hand that just here in Akron all the women’s shelters are filled. We now have 25 tents and 36 people in our Second Chance Village just for a chance for a little stability and security. Case workers bring people here literally crying in hopes of getting a tent.
People have to beg us for a spot for a tent IN AMERICA! We are now so over filled that we have no choice other than to stop letting people in.
We have seen such a need that we are also out of tents and sleeping bags to give to people to send them back into the woods. People live in the woods in Akron right now with zero shelter. No coats. No tarps. Nothing. This exists right now in your city.
This is not justice. This is not acceptable. Something must be done other than talking and pontificating.
The homeless situation is an epidemic. We have home-grown refugees everywhere in America. And local government officials look the other way.
Local governments are quick to tell you the problem is difficult. But any solution you may come up with is totally unworkable.
I will not allow American government to turn away from looking the homeless in the face. We have no choice but to deal with the homeless.
Nor are we anywhere near the high water mark of homelessness in America. The middle class will continue to shrink which will cause more people to fall out the bottom as homeless.
I repeatedly hear city officials say almost the exact same sentence. It’s like they memorized a political talking point.
“Let’s be honest, no one wants to live next to homeless people.”
This sentence represents a tone deaf understanding of every single civil rights fight we’ve ever gone through in this country.
“Let’s be honest, no one wants to live next to:
- Native Americans
We have all learned the glaring, obvious bigotry of those statements.
Every person deserves respect. Every person deserves dignity. We all have the same makeup that makes us human. We crave acceptance. It crushes the human soul to be told by the masses, and particularly those in power, that some of us are less than the rest of us.
It cannot be acceptable to say to ANY human: “Let’s be honest, no one wants to live next to you.”
Yet I hear those words from city officials. History repeats itself. Governments fail to learn.
This is because institutions of all kinds require the status quo. Everything must remain the same at all costs.
As soon as change creeps into the institution it jeopardizes the institution. The machine feels threatened.
Let me be clear. I am no anarchist. I am not coming to destroy the machine.
I am merely here to give the machine a tune up.
I am here to remind the machine that it does not run the people. It runs FOR the people. And like it or not. Whether or not they pay taxes. Whether or not they dress the way the machine feels comfortable. The homeless are part of the people for which the machine exists.
I will not allow the machine to ignore the homeless any longer.
I will tell you that my instinct is that the machine, the officials of the government, find our Second Chance Village uncomfortable and troublesome.
They don’t know what the answer is. But they are pretty sure the one answer we have offered is not the correct answer. So the can gets kicked down the road forever until a change is forced upon it.
That change is happening now. We are the change. We will not allow the cities of America to kick the homeless down the road, over the ravine into the woods as if they are some sort of unwanted animal.
Here is what is going to happen now with our Second Chance Village.
The city will make a recommendation as to whether or not we should be allowed to exist. The recommendation then goes to the building department who then also makes a recommendation as to whether or not we should be allowed to exist.
The final decision will then rest in the hands of City Council.
Just as government did in the sentencing of Jesus they will wash their hands of this troublesome issue and let the fate rest in the hands of others.
The good news is that City Council is made up of many wonderful people.
As I tell you this story further I will tell you of some of the amazing people in city council that have already passionately expressed great support for our Second Chance Village.
While you didn’t vote for anyone in the city infrastructure other than the mayor, you did vote for City Council. And I’m quite happy to let you know that you chose well. By and large they are thoughtful, kind dedicated people. They understand the needs of the city.
I firmly believe that our fate resting in the hands of City Council is a great opportunity for us. I believe it is actually the best position we can be in.
But we absolutely must let city council know that keeping Second Chance Village alive is critical. Something must be done to help the poorest of the poor in America. We cannot allow ourselves to look the other way any more.
Classism is the civil right issue of our time. The amount of money you have cannot be a factor in determining your worth as a human.
And let me be clear. We are asking NOTHING of the city other than to be allowed to exist. I will continue to pay my $4,196.39 in taxes on the building every 6 months. I don’t want a tax break from the city to help them solve their homeless issue. They can give those tax breaks to the super large corporations that exist in their city.
We just want to be allowed to exist in a very poor part of Akron on private property. That’s all we ask. We just want to be left alone.
But the only way we are going to be allowed to exist is through the approval of Akron City Council.
This is what I ask of my fellow citizens of Akron:
If you believe:
- the homeless that are living on $0/day in the woods deserve a small piece of security and stability so they can work on their mental health and addiction issues PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIL PERSON KNOW.
- the homeless outbreak of Hepatitis A that started in San Diego and is now just next door in Detroit that can be mitigated by hand washing and sanitizer that we provide and is impossible to work on in the woods PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIL PERSON KNOW.
- women that can’t get into a shelter because they are filled deserve more security than living alone in the woods PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIL PERSON KNOW.
- people need a place to take a shower and wash their clothes which we provide PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIL PERSON KNOW.
- people with mental health and addiction issues need support people that can find them easily in one place to help them get treatment PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIL PERSON KNOW.
- America can do better for it’s most weak and in need than ignoring them and letting them fester in the woods PLEASE LET YOUR COUNCIL PERSON KNOW.
Please help your council person understand that ignoring the homeless is hurting the entire structure of society and going against everything it means to be an American. I truly believe they will fully understand and support this cause if they know about it. I believe in Akron City Council.
We are a homeless run facility that doesn’t give handouts. We give the homeless a second chance to help themselves.
Please tell your council person to go to:
If you don’t know who your Akron City Council person is you can find it here: Find My Ward
Below is a list of all the Akron City Council’s contact information: (you can also click on that image. A larger version will appear and you can print it.)
Please. I truly am begging you. City Council will listen to you. Let them know you support Second Chance Village. Thank you.
If you have any questions or would like to get a personal tour by me, Sage Lewis, call me at: 330-416-7519. Seeing what the homeless are doing for themselves will blow your mind. They are amazing people that just need a place to regroup so they can move on to the next part of their lives.