Akron homeless charity forced to close after city finds safety hazard; local activist is undeterred

Akron homeless charity forced to close due to safety risks

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - After the closure of Tent City in Akron, the owner of a nearby building decided to help the cause and open his space to the needy.

Now, the facility is being forced to close its doors because of a safety hazard.

“We are now not able to offer any homeless services. Everything has been cleaned out of the building from top to bottom,” said owner Sage Lewis.

Lewis has been the owner of the property on 15 Broad St. for nearly a decade. He’s also the executive director of the homeless charity operated out of the basement of the same building.

“We’re still dealing with people coming into the building and using our facilities like using our showers and bathrooms. We pretty much have it all locked up now because it’s apparently illegal to allow people at 15, Broad Street," said Lewis.

Just weeks ago things took a turn for the worse when the Fire division of Public Safety deemed it was an unsafe environment.

“Our port a potty was burned down at one point by a disgruntled person that we kicked out of the facility and then that closed down one area of the facility,” recalled Lewis.

Even though the doors to Lewis’ facility have seemingly been locked forever, he tells me he won’t stop til all the homeless people are better off here in Akron.

“We’re not giving up. We’re just going down a new path,” said Lewis.

With the building shut down, the property owner still tries to feed the hungry thanks to donations from local restaurants. Lewis believes his charity is slowly being pushed out because the area is currently under major development.

“Right here we have a low income apartment building that’s being built. I believe it’s valued at $12 million. They’re trying to create an image that does not include the reality of Akron, Ohio," he said.

Lewis is now also working on ways to help the homeless with transportation. He says this is only the beginning of a new initiative.

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