Deputy Mayor Langert: Tent City To Tear Down 15 Structures In Violation Of Court Orders

tent city[UPDATED] [VIDEO Of Police Chief Lawson & Senator Singer Touring Tent City] As part of an agreement in a pending lawsuit filed against Tent City residents, Tent City are being forced to take down 15 structures, Deputy Mayor Steven Langert confirmed to TLS. The lawsuit filed last year in an attempt to evict the homeless, gave the homeless some time to argue their case and why the County should be required to continue to house them.

In July, 2009, Senator and then Mayor Bob Singer and Police Chief Rob Lawson together with Fair Housing Officer Mike McNeil of STEPS visited Tent City in an effort to work with the homeless and ultimately find permanent housing for them

“We want to work with them and not bang heads”, Singer said then. “We will bring this thing to an end – we understand their circumstances and are trying to work with them to find them proper accommodations” he said.

But Singer made it clear to Minister Steven Brigham back then, “that if there is any growth in this camp-it will be ended promptly”.

There have been multiple fires in Tent City over the years, including one which killed on of its residents last year, and severely injured another.

Shortly afterwards, the lawsuit was filed.

The following consent order obatined by TLS, was the court orders following the lawsuit’s filing: By consent order issued by Judge Grasso on July 15, 2010 between the Township, Steve Brigham and the then residents of Tent City, the parties agreed that:

“Pending further written agreement among the Parties, or upon any further Order of this Court upon application by any party during the pendency of this action, the Parties shall not expand the Homeless Camps by: (a) bringing homeless individuals to the Homeless Camps; (b) soliciting or advertising the Homeless Camps as a location for the homeless; (c) building additional structures at the Homeless Camps or completing the construction of any structures now under construction; or (d) for expansion purposes, adding or improving upon the facilities at the premises such as any power-generating facilities, waste-disposal facilities (toilets) or water delivery systems (wells).”

On June 9, 2011 the Task Force visited the Homeless Camp in Lakewood. The Task Force was made up of Kathy Jaworski, Ryan Reilly and Susan Mascola of the Ocean County Department of Human Services; Anne McBride of the Ocean County Health Department; Michele Miller of the Ocean County Health Department, Substance Abuse Counselor; Richard Butler and Jill Villalobos of the Ocean County Board of Social Services, Special Response; Rev. Peter Hartney, Pastor, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Beachwood; Rev. David Stoner, Pastor, Alive In Christ Lutheran Church, Jackson; Paul Kozak of Vetworks; John Dorrityof the Ocean County Veterans Services Bureau; Lori Schmidt, Peter Gignte and Joel Hammill of Preferred Behavioral Health, PATH, Barbara Florimont of Providence House; and Tom Finnerty, Kristen Durnya and Courtney Wiand of Ocean Mental Health, PATH.

The Task Force confirmed that Tent City has been expanded by the construction of at least 15 new structures and the expansion of facilities which now include a well, and a new generator that powers a washer and dryer all in violation of the July 15, 2010 Consent Order.

This was brought to the attention of the Court and in lieu of further litigation, the representatives of the residents of Tent City agreed to voluntarily remove all structures, wells and other improvements constructed or installed in violation of the July 15, 2010 Consent Order.

Deputy Langert could not confirm a date by when the structures had to be removed.

See exclusive video below of Police Chief Rob Lawson and Senator Singer visiting the camp. TLS.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. this place should go, when another town has a homeless person the drop them off in lakewood, this is not right, just get rid of the whole place. have you ever seen when the garbage cans line cedarbridge, it’s just not right

  2. where are they getting all this wood from? it’s just amazing how bad this place looks, and yes i’ve seen the garbage cans lined up, this is just wrong, something needs to be done

  3. It’s about time. If they’re not paying taxes they should not be allowed to build anything. I also see they have township garbage cans which tax layers pick up the bill on.

    Too make it even worse when I go to pay my taxes at the municipal building they have a homeless guy living right outside the door. This has got to change

  4. I really truly feel for many legitimate homeless people, but in an article that was just published online at the “an animal in the canine family” News website where this tent city is featured, it mentions how one of the residents has family in NJ who have offered to help him, but he refuses to “accept help.” What the hey? One tent city resident mentioned “Survival is very hard without the modern conveniences,” she said. “We took about a month to prepare and I camped as a child, but [Michael] kept saying, ‘What do you mean no electricity?’ But really, we’re busy most of the day.” Busy with daily surviving I’m sure, and is there time to look for a job? She has time to tend to her caged birds she has as pets. How much of what Bingham is doing in enabling, rather than helping? Just saying.

  5. They were offered to be put up in permanent housing a few times but they refused. No reason why a town and/or county should put up with this.

  6. What does lined of garbage can have to do with anything? Would u prefer they don’t use garbage cans? I know plenty of tax paying citzens who put their garbage on the road side when their garbage cans get full

  7. There, but for the grace of God,go I.
    Many people are just one paycheck or one medical emergency away from there.
    How many times do you read here how people are having a hard time keeping ahead,

    “If there shall be a destitute person among you … you shall not harden your heart or close your hand against your destitute brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to him.” (15:7-8)

    The Torah strongly exhorts us to have mercy and compassion upon our poor brethren. The Talmud records (Bava Basra 10a) that a wicked Roman nobleman named Turnus Rufus asked Rabbi Akiva, “If your God loves poor people so much, why doesn’t He provide for them?” Rabbi Akiva answered that Hashem allows them to remain poor in order to give us the merit of giving them charity, which will protect us from punishment.
    Trash collection is the least we can provide them. And yes, those living there should stay within the limits of the law.

  8. Well all the garbage cans on cedar bridge avenue lined up look like any where else in Lakewood. Drive around you will see houses with 5 6 7 Cans. That shouldn’t matter these people are homeless and we should help them any way we can. We help every other country.

  9. to #6 if you put them in a housing who is paying for this, as a tax payer why do i have to help them, to #9 why should i have to help them aren’t they able to help themselves, they choose to live like this, they have a choice, but being homeless is the way they want to live, lakewood should not have to help them. there not helping me

  10. No one is debating weather to help these people. they deserve our compassion and help. The point is nimby not in my backyard. Why does brick police drop off homeless people in Lakewood . Why does Lakewood of all NJ deserve the often times bad elements and cost off a homeless population.

  11. I just love all the negative response from the community that suffered in the past from persecution themselves …. at least leave them alone , let them be …

  12. Lined garbage cans along the road mean they are picking up their trash,not like some homes I see when I drive through Lakewood. Nothing worse than junk laying all over lawns and frontt of houses. not everyone has a person to go to for help. Are these people hurting you in any way?

  13. have you no shame?

    i understand if you live near them and they disturb you in some way but the amount of garbage they produce bothers you?!

    chas veshalom lo alenu imagine you went through a situation where you chas veshalom lost your job and had nowhere to turn

    maybe you should thank Hashem for the bracha that you have a job and a house and are able to pay taxes despite the fact that its hard

    start counting your blessings instead of complaining about the little bit that someone else has

  14. This guy actively recruits to get people in his “city”.he doesn’t let any county agency help these folks,he encourages them to stay homeless. It seems he really just cares about his own image. The fact that so many people have gotten hurt in fires, and fights at his city is testament enough that this place needs to be closed ASAP.

  15. To 13:
    That’s exactly my point he puts them in a situation where these folks are not safe. Furthermore he wants you to believe this situation is the last hope for these people when in fact nothing can be further from the truth. Section 8, HUD, food stamps, Medicaid, jersey care, Catholic Charities, etc are all there to help these people! But Brigham feeds these people and the press a steady diet of falsehoods and misrepresentation. We can close down this city and have all 70 people enrolled in programs and sheltered environments within 12 hours. Fact is he resists all efforts of assistance.

  16. Whats with all the chickens i see wandering around cedar bridge? There must be some law about letting your animals wander freely, not to mention how un sanitary this whole human farm is. . The township should cut down the trees along the road so they wont be hidden.

  17. There but for the grace of G-D go I. I pray for their safety and a return to a healthy life.

    Having said that, I do not believe that the Township should enable the homeless in any way. It appears that State and Township Officials have the matter well in hand so that the camp cannot expand.

  18. When someone posts anonymously we do not know if the poster (blogger) is Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jewish.

    Furthermore, even if someone posts as Chaim or Moishe we don’t know if in real life their given name is Suzanne or Carlos. Not everything is as it seems online.

    Therefore, please don’t assume that the “all the negative response[s]” are from our community; or, quite frankly Jewish.

    While I (an orthodox Jew) agree with the substance of your post; that we should “at least leave them alone, let them be …”, please don’t ruin your heartfelt words with unwarranted prejudice.

    It is just not fair.

  19. seriously people- who are they hurting? someone please give me one good reason why we shouldnt just leave these people alone…just one reason.

  20. Who are they hurting? They hurt themselves and others. The police get called to the encampment for everything from rapes to assaults and deaths by fire. The reason people have a problem with the garbage cans is that it’s evidence of people who are squatting on public land being coddled and given free services that everyone else in town has to pay for. This is not the tragic story of families living in the woods because they lost their homes due to an economic downturn. These are anti-social people who, for the most part, have drug and/or alcohol problems. They refuse relocation and cite an unwillingness to accept “help” but have no problem living in free, illegal structures in the woods and accepting free food, clothing, blankets, etc. from well meaning but misguided enablers.

  21. I am particularly concerned about what the Board of Health thinks about all of this. Are there flushing toilets there? Is there proper sanitation of their bowel movements and urine there? Is this untreated sanitation waste going right into the ground. And it is interesting to see that they have dug a well there, a pretty good one too. Is the township also paying to cart away their human waste matter? What a health hazard that is to all of us, as flies, and other vermin transfer this matter airborne to all parts of Lakewood. That’s how malaria, cholera, West Nile and other viruses are transferred.

    I remember how the Board of Health was so worried when one child in a school had the mumps how he had to be quarantined for two weeks at home and look what we are breeding here.

    How many of these homeless are checked for Tuberculosis, which is on the rise.

    In this country, and with this administration, no one has to go hungry and without shelter. The whole place is a disgrace, a health hazard zone, and a breeding ground for crime, drug dealing, and dangers to all. Close it down, bull doze the place, and put up more apartments. Plenty of people await the building of new units . This is worse than the deep south where I once lived, and the poor built shacks.

    Why does the township perpetuate this? Close it down. You’d be doing them a good service. Wait till one good thunderstorm and lightning strikes the camp like we had two weeks ago, and threatens their lives. And also the impending cold weather of winter.

  22. Last week I saw those green garbage cans, all so neatly standing in a row, without garbage pouring out of the tops.
    How unlike my neighbors in the condominium where I live!!! Garbage cans placed in any which way manner, so much trash that the lids cannot be put down. And, so many do not recycle; their yellow cans stand empty. My, how much more money the township could get from that recycling grant, if only all of my neighbors did their part. Then, their garbage cans would most likely have less trash, and hence, able to put the lids down!!! Then, they would compare to the neatly stacked rows of the cans found at Tent City.

    Freebies? Okay, so they get one of those hard sought section 8 vouchers. Will you then be their welcoming neighbor? Or, do you just want to keep all of those vouchers available only for your community?

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