VIDEO: Tent City Expected to Close in Weeks

tent city mcnielVIDEO: [EXCLUSIVE] Tent City, a contentious issue which has been in and out of County court for about five years, is expected to finally come to an end in the next few weeks.

The Township today was again at the homeless camp tearing down vacated tents in accordance with the plan to bring the homeless camp to an end by finding appropriate housing for its residents.

Minister Brigham, the camp’s founder, tells TLS he doesn’t feel this process is ethical.

“There’s nowhere for these people to go,” says Brigham. “It doesn’t seem to be ethical or moral from my viewpoint. They are not approaching this thing from the right angle. I’ts about dignity.”

However, Mike McNiel of S.T.E.P.S. who has been at the forefront of the placement of those counted in the official census performed about a year ago, says the Township is only removing those tents marked for removal based on the placement process – as well as the tents of those who have not been counted in the official census.

tent city 4-9-14 tlsMcNiel, who is working with rehabs and with the County’s Social Services tells TLS the number of those remaining after the batch of parties currently in the process of being placed, is about twelve. Those people could be placed by the end of the month, McNiel says.

About 49 people of the official census were placed, and about 11 are being placed this week or next week, McNiel says.

Deputy Mayor Albert Akerman and Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein are credited for tackling the Tent City issue.

tent city 2“We are progressing ahead of schedule and are well on the way to the permanent closure of Tent City,” Deputy Mayor Albert Akerman tells TLS. “We are nearing the final stages of placing those who are eligible and will continue aggressively until everyone is placed.”

Despite the many obstacles on the local and County level, the pair worked be diligently with officials ensuring that a permanent plan is put into place. [TLS]


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  1. these people are freeloaders, plain and simple. Someone has to pay for housing. who is supposed to do it – the taxpayers? Where did these people all come from any way? Where were they before they came to Lakewood. Why did they start tenting here any way?

  2. Thank you to those who have worked to resolve this issue by offering all of those who reside in tent city housing. What I am not understanding is the first gentlemans claim that people are “uneasy” because the housing offer is “only for 1 year”. Why is it necessary to provide a lifetimes worth of free permanent housing? Shouldn’t a years worth of free housing be enough for them to get on their feet? Section 8 housing assistance could become available to them if they apply in a less densely populated area which would help them find a more permanent solution. Jobs are more available to people with an address and telephone. Even at minimum wage, with programs (which do take effort to apply) and choosing a reasonable area in which to live it is possible to survive. This, however takes a tremendous amount of effort which might not be on the agenda of those in tent city with drug and alcohol problems. That will have to be determined by the individual but there is no lack of dignity in working hard and taking help when necessary. There is however a lack of dignity when some are only interested in handouts because they refuse to even try to take responsibility for themselves.

  3. Thanks Mark McNeil! He’s a great guy who does so much for the community! He should be nominated for a resident of the year award!

  4. Why are they doing this now?
    I would assume it would have been better for the residents if this were done BEFORE winter and not just after winter ends when It is just becoming nice out.

  5. This story is like the Malaysian aircraft story. It never ends. There was a time it looked like Tent Cityans were moving out. Now it looks like a renewed boy scout camping reservation. I see more people delivering goods, new white tents, stronger and flatter roads in the woods, etc..etc. Will they really be out?? I would hope the minister would help expedite their move to church grounds sooner rather than later. The people need a legal home. Lakewood was kind enough to allow this for so long. It is the county’s responsibility. Lakewood did not create their homeless status.

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