Aug 24, 2014 1:59 AM by Sam Salzwedel
TUCSON - Advocates are closer to finding a safe and legal place for homeless people to live.
Jon McLane has been fighting for what has been called Safe Park at Veinte de Agosto Park Downtown. He has confronted officials to allow people to sleep on the sidewalk in the highly visible area.
"The government has done everything they can to make it so we don't exist any longer," McLane said.
He is working with Central City Assembly to create a 24-hour operation where people can live, complete with food and bathrooms available. The church already provides meals 3 days a week and some access to air-conditioned shelter during the hottest time of day.
Last month, several organizations sponsored McLane to take a trip to Portland. He spent time at a "rest area" for homeless people called Right 2 Dream Too. He wants to take some of those ideas back to the Central City Assembly property.
"I got to see how a place with a similar population, a similar political environment and a similar people operate and treat the homeless people," McLane said.
He said he hopes people will not have to sleep on the sidewalk at Veinte de Agosto Park anymore.
The church's pastor, Davide Ferrari, is happy to share the property with the homeless.
"Our church's mission is to serve with no strings attached," Ferrari said. "And that means we find needs, fill them. It means that we find people that are in need of whatever it might be, and we just serve them without expecting anything back."
On October 16, Central City Assembly will host a forum on homelessness at 6:30 p.m. Panelists from Tucson and even other states will discuss more details on how the church can be used.