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Feb 2, 2014 12:43 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Homeless occupy Downtown during gem show

TUCSON - Homeless people will continue to sleep on a busy Downtown sidewalk as the gem shows start.

Jon Mclane was one of the main organizers of Occupy Tucson in 2011. Now he is helping the homeless at what he calls the Safe Park at Veinte de Agosto Park. Mclane wants the homeless to be visible on the main road into Downtown.

"Hopefully, now that it's out on front street, they realize that these people have the legal right to do this," Mclane said. "They'll start thinking of some solutions to make it so people won't have to be out here."

Saturday night, organizers invited the public to "Sleep Over in Solidarity" to support the people on the sidewalk.

Only a few extra people showed up, including Michele Ream. She works for the Primavera Foundation helping homeless people for a living.

"When I bought my house Downtown about 20 years ago, it was the homeless guys from Downtown that helped me fix it up and worked on it with me," Ream said. "And so I'm forever indebted to them."

The first gem show at the Tucson Convention Center starts Tuesday.

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