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Monday, November 20, 2017

Lawsuit Targets Homeless 'Tent City' in Akron

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 10:55 AM

click to enlarge Samuel Adkins' home is pinned at the top of this map, and located just north of the woods behind Sage Lewis' building at 15 Broad St. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Samuel Adkins' home is pinned at the top of this map, and located just north of the woods behind Sage Lewis' building at 15 Broad St.
We're reading an excellent piece of reporting from the Akron Beacon Journal's Doug Livingston today. In the story, Livingston writes about a housing and homelessness conflict now playing out in a Summit County courtroom. You should definitely read the piece, linked here.

Read the full lawsuit below.

Samuel Adkins has filed his civil complaint against Sage Lewis, who runs The Homeless Charity Inc. and who opened part of his land as a "tent city" for homeless people back in January. These days, about 35 people are living "in the cut" behind Lewis' building just off East Market Street.

Adkins alleges that the homeless population has harassed his wife and polluted the land with "trash and debris." He argues that fires set by the men and women have "burdened" the Akron Fire Department. He and his wife "decided that their home was no longer a safe place to live. They were deprived of sleep from the constant noise and activity. They were threatened by the fact that convicted criminals were residing in the rear and side of their home. They could no longer use and enjoy their pool, or allow their grandchildren to play on the swingset or in the yard."

Lewis, in comments to Livingston, says that it's "a civil rights issue. ... I believe every American has the right to live. And I’m prepared to have that fight.”

click to enlarge Sage Lewis' building at 15 Broad St. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Sage Lewis' building at 15 Broad St.
Lewis made a $20,000 offer to buy Adkins' home (for which Adkins originally took out a $23,000 mortgage in 2010). Adkins countered with $50,000. In the lawsuit, filed last week, Adkins seeks more than $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Livingston's story points out that the geography of this lawsuit is of particular note, as well. Not only is Adkins' lawsuit on the table, but indeed the entire city will be watching how this plays out. He writes:

The building now bustles with homeless people in the heart of a neighborhood poised for development. After decades of decline, private and public investment are gelling at the nexus of Arlington, Market and Exchange streets with road projects, new shopping centers, housing developments, a neighborhood development corporation and, soon, a new fire station.

On that same broader level, City Council could take up the matter of homeless encampments as this issue gains greater visibility in the community.

The Adkins lawsuit is embedded here:

Adkins v. Lewis by sandyatscene on Scribd

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