Lakewood Township Helps the Homeless and the Cold throughout the Night

tent city snowLakewood Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, liaison to the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson and Lakewood police officers spent the night making sure everyone was safe, warm, and sheltered from the frigid cold and biting winds.

Committeeman Lichtenstein said, “Some people in Tent City went to a church. Everybody was offered shelter and the police were there many times throughout the night to offer help.”

The OEM provided blankets, cots, and meals that automatically heat up when the container is opened; and All Saints Episcopal Church, Madison Avenue between Second and Third streets, opened its doors to the homeless so they could get out of the cold.

Chief Lawson said that Kenny Dix, one of Lakewood’s Deputy OEM Coordinators, and the OEM provided two dozen cots for Lexington Rest Home, Lexington Avenue and Fifth Street, when the heating system partially failed. With the cots from the OEM, people could move from the upper floors to the lower level where they had heat. Chief Lawson said, “They were anticipating having the heating system fixed today.”

A big concern to Township officials and the police department was the condition of people living in Tent City. Chief Lawson said, “We sent officers to Tent City hourly to check to see if anybody else wanted shelter to get out of the cold.”

Father Burt Draesel, the pastor of All Saints Episcopal Church opened the Church to accommodate the homeless and Chief Lawson assigned officers in shifts to stay with the people there.

Chief Lawson said, “The weather is brutal and it’s going to be like this for the next couple days. We are going to continue to check the people in Tent City throughout this frigid weather to see if anyone wants shelter. We don’t want anyone freezing to death out there.”

In emergency situations, such as this one, about four Lakewood churches usually open on a rotating basis and volunteer members of the CERT Team (Citizens Emergency Response Team) will often staff them.

Besides Father Draesel of the All Saints Episcopal Church, the other pastors and churches that are generous in opening for emergencies are Pastor Simpson’s Church on Arlington Avenue who sheltered quite a few people during hurricane Sandy; Reverend Salguero’s Church, East Fourth and Ridge Fourth streets; and Pastor Orellana’s church on East Seventh Street.

Anyone in trouble or cold should call the Lakewood Police Department—the first contact for any emergency—at 732-363-0200. Through Chief Lawson or one of the OEM deputy coordinators, arrangements will be made to shelter and feed people in need. [TLS]

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  1. What a waste of taxpayer resources! These squatters are refusing the indoor shelter offered in this frigid weather and we’re forced to send patrol cars every hour to check for dead bodies. Our officials have gone above and beyond to care for people that refuse to care for themselves!

  2. I can’t believe the first two comments.When the life of someone near you is in danger you don’t start telling them what they should have previously.

    I thank all those who helped those who were in the cold last night.

  3. In all honesty, I think the fact that tent city was ever allowed to take root is an issue that the police and township have to take responsibility for. It should have been nipped in the bud after the first two residents showed up. However, now that it’s there, the twonshop does have certain responsibilities and it’s not so simple to say it’s freezing cold and too bad on its residents.

  4. Minister Steve Brigham says the total of 3 people from Tent City went to outside shelter, all at the All Saints Episcopal Church, out of our total population of about 80. (Other homeless folks from outside Tent City might have been there also.)

  5. I think people should spend time in their shoes before they judge. Tent city has saved tax payers MILLIONS of dollars. Who could complain about that? They’re not living on section 8, welfare, etc and alot even have jobs. They just don’t make enough to afford an apartment. And, it’s not called “squatting”, it’s homesteading. Educate yourself 🙂

  6. Beware Alex Libman doesnt say the truth his post are biased and do not reflect the true picture of what is happening within Tent City. He tries as hard as he can to put down Lakewood Twp and elivate Tent City. His posts are not accurate at all nor factual. You can see all his posts all over the internet they all follow the same trend.

  7. I have no problem helping them- my issue is even when we help them, they’ll turn around and spit in our faces.

    I have yet to hear anyone from tent city thanking lakewood officials.

  8. They are SQUATTERS. They squat illegally on land that is not theirs. They also waste our resources and jeopardize the health and safety of our citizens citizens. And on top of that, they also REFUSE to accept the indoor shelter offered to them. I can’t think of bigger hypocrites to demand we spend millions of taxpayer dollars to build them a new indoor shelter. This is just more evidence of Brigham’s bogus and anarchist claim.

  9. I visited tent city last year, and I can tell you that some of the people that live there have jobs, and cannot afford the rents for an apartment. The county should help all they can, whereas there are no other places for them to go. I still have friends that go there, and some just recently to help out. Dont judge these people because they live in the woods, if you are christians you should help whenever you can. dont just stand there and make statements that you know nothing about..If you went to tent city, and helped, I thank you, but just because someone didnt say thank you, doesnt mean it isnt appreciated. Doesnt the bible say, do not judge and they will not be judged..
    They need help, and if your a christian you will get out and help out. You might have to live like that one day, you never know.

  10. I’ve been thinking about the people that reside in tent city during this cold spell. I hope everyone stays safe. Thank you to our govt & LPD for all their hard work.

  11. I was hoping the people in tent city would go somewhere indoors for the night and the township would FINALLY take swift action to close up tent city for once and for all!
    Oh well….

  12. As a resident of Tent City I find some of these comments disturbing. As for moving to a temp shelter, steve warned us that if we leave we may not be allowed to return to our tents. Thats why we stayed.

  13. dat, whats the problem with not being allowed back? you guys are now at the bottom of the pit the only way to go is up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so go and maybe your pathetic life will turn around and with gods help maybe you’ll get back on your feet and not be leeching from the tax payers wallet!!!!

  14. Dat
    Please clarify what Steve said regarding not returning to your tents had you gone to seek shelter. This was one of the coldest periods in recent history and you guys were INSTRUCTED to remain?
    Is the township aware of this?
    Is the ocean county board of social services aware of this? If this is true it demonstrates that Steve is not actually looking out for the welfare of the homeless he claims to represent.

  15. Dat is quite courageous for saying the truth. Other squat city tenants who have expressed opinions undesirable to Steve’s agenda have run into serious trouble in the past.

  16. I was gladto hear that the city helped these people. Aren’t we Jews suipposed to be compassionate, helping others? We are still all Hashem’s children, . this was unusual conditions.

  17. Please do not believe what Dat says. I am a volunteer at tent city and I know who he is. He does not live in tent city but shows up there some times and tries to cause trouble among the people who live there.

  18. Take any comment of thiers like a grain of salt if you would like to know what really goes on here come by and check it out yourself. What the media is reporting is not the real inside story its only what Alex and Steve “feed” them.

  19. Chris, I have been to tent city many ,many times and I have met and know most of the people there. I have spoken to many of them and they have all told what you have been saying is not true.

  20. I can’t believe that someone said I’m only a temporary resident in at tent city. I’m always there and I’ll be there tonight also. I don’t want my spot taken away from me.

  21. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole tent city thing turns into a cult type of thing , as it does have similar trends to some cults that ended tragically.

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