Akron Man Finds Housing in Mall
The Rolling Acres is nearly abandoned, and one adventurous man, Brandon Shawhan, decided that the Mall would be the perfect place to live. If I had a big law firm, I would assign a few lawyers to represent Shawhan, and put capitalism on trial. There was most likely public subsidy that went into the building of the mall. Mr. Shawhan, for whatever reason, cannot find enough money to pay for housing in our society. He did whatever he could do to survive including borrowing space that was no longer in use. The basis of my case would be the question: does our society have an obligation to house every citizen? If we are all equal and our government has an obligation to protect us then do they have an obligation to provide a place inside to protect us from the elements? If government can sweep in and place us in an asylum for "observation" against our will, then why do we not have an obligation to provide a space inside for every citizen? It certainly would be attractive to the jury that he took up residence at the Diamond's Mens Store, and he was a man who wanted to look sharp.
Akron does not have an adequate supply of shelter, and regularly turns people away. They do not have a publicly funded shelter for men that does not push religion on the client. Akron was named by NEOCH as the Biggest Roadblock of the Year in 2006, because they do not take care of their homeless population. I am not saying Akron has an obligation to force people into shelter, but if the shelter is not even available then they should not be able to prosecute people for finding heated publicly funded spaces out of the weather. This would be a great trial that would generate a lot of media attention.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.