PHOTOS & VIDEO: Residents Affected by Tent City Demand Answers, Action From Township Officials

PHOTOS & VIDEO [UPDATED 12PM] About one hundred homeowners living in the vicinity of the homeless camp off of Cedarbridge Avenue are demanding for their quality of life to be restored after years of suffering.At a meeting this evening at the Township Municipal building, auestions such as, “Why are they allowed to break the law”, and “Can the land be sold to a private entity who could then evict them”, and “Where is the line drawn”, were some of the questions posed at Township Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, Committeeman Albert Akerman, the Township Attorney working the case, and to Police Chief Rob Lawson.

Residents say it has come to a point that their families are simply afraid and disgusted to walk near their homes due to the fact that the homeless people publicly urinate on their lawns, throw beer bottles and trash around their homes and openly deal with drugs – something they don’t want their children exposed to.

The illegal fires are causing a serious health concern for children with athsma and other health conditions, residents said.

Officials, mainly Committeeman Lichtenstien and the Township Attorney litigating on behalf of the Township, took notes of the detailed complaints by the concerned and upset homeowners, and promised to process their concerns to be used for further litigation and in hopes of resolving the contentious matter once and for all. TLS.

Video will be pusblished later.

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69 COMMENTS

  1. Breaking the Law. This is Lakewood we are talking about. Their is only set of law and it is not the same set of law that other towns follow. If this town was really fair they would have a place for these people and not only the other People

  2. I would like to apologize to the residents that live around the homeless camp. My intention when I spoke was not to minimize the daily annoyances and safety concerns that you deal with on a daily basis due to your proximity to the camp.
    I did not intend on speaking , but after hearing a few concerned residents talk about the homeless as If they were less than simply unfortunate human beings, I felt compelled to make it clear that our concern is not only for ourselves but for them as well.
    My statements about the lack of concern of quality of life issues was not meant to minimize the homeless issue. I was pointing out that the lack of concern for solving the Homeless problem is indicative of the broader attitudes of our committee and police.
    Five years ago when the camp was half the size it is today, I suggested we establish an official campus for the Homeless. The cost for a fifteen acre parcel, including ten wood cabins was a half a million dollars. I was told that we can’t spend the money to give Lakewoods homeless a place that they could control themselves.
    Ask your committee how much has been spent on lawyer fees, police, fire and EMS since that ridiculous suggestion, not to mention the cost of lives, and a negative image for our town.
    The only way out of this situation is to sit down with the homeless leaders and discuss their needs and tell them our concerns and desire to help. If we continue to wait for our Committee or police to rescue us we will be choking on the smoke, and dealing with this issue for many years to come.
    It is very easy to say “they are illegal get them out of here” or “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” or “California is warmer let them move there”, but it will not solve the problem.
    We must deal with the reality of the situation , use the many resources we have access to in order to help them without burdening the taxpayer, and show some compassion , even if we don’t really mean it.
    Burying our head in the sand and letting the lawyers take care of the problem will cost us dearly, in our pockets and in the eyes of all those watching.

  3. Kol HaKovod to the TRUE ASKAN SHEL BNEI TORAH! REB Meir – KEEP UP YOUR UNBELIEVABLE AVODOS HAKODESH! May Hashem repay u B’keifel kiflayim. Your always stepping up too the plate even when you’d prefer not, does not go unnoticed! Ashrecha

  4. Not sure what you mean by the “other people”. The township offered them a place to go to and they declined. If they leave tent city then they have to play by the rules. They would tell you that themselves. For example some of the residents came from the shelter in AC why because in AC you cant stay there unless you get a job, go to rehab and they throw you out at 7am. Compared to that life in Tent City is a breeze.

  5. are you for real?! if we had built wood cabins for the homeless we wouldn’t have 100 individuals to deals with. we’d have every homeless individual this side of the Mississipi coming here for his free cabin and land. Thank you Meir Lichtenstein for your care and concern for the klal. We appreciate the hard work you put in on a daily basis, much of which is done quietly behind the scenes.

  6. Most of these folks are NOT LOCALS! We don’t owe them anything, not as residents of Lakewood township or Ocean county. Some are even from out of state. The plight of the homeless is very sad, however we aren’t required to let them ruin others quality of life, and health.

  7. I would like to thank the organizers of this successful meeting, i know that they would rather stay anonymous, so i will not expose them, but their work does not go unnoticed and we really appreciate it. thank you and continue your wonderful work. i am sure those people know who i am talking to and about.

  8. is Meir the next Mayor? he is so experienced in so many inyanim in the township and in personal matters as well. he is always there to help those that really need him badly anytime day or night . he was great the first time he should rise to the occasion again and push himself into the top position that he was so great in the first time

  9. The ten cabins were already existing. It would be up to the owners of the property and local ordinances what could be built afterwards. Considering that the land was not in Lakewood, the chances of getting any approvals to build more cabins would have been small. Only Lakewood allows all building, whether it is townhouses or tents to go unchecked. Maybe our esteemed committeeman would like to be the property manager for the homeless camp. Now we’re talking.

  10. Sometimes when I want to return a purchase to a store I have to show an I.D., driver’s license, voting card, disabled card…etc. Perhaps it is time for an I.D. check to see who is really roaming, and who is a resident of the county without a home.

    I also remember Mayor Bloomberg in New York City shut down “Occupy Wall Street” because it was a nuisance to all the businesses and residences. However they did not use the term ” nuisance”, they called it health code violations.

    Rabbotai, are there health code violations here? Garbage everywhere, no sewage disposal, toilets (?) environmental air quality, health violations up and down. A real problem could be breeding on the site. Who there has been tested for TB? A serious problem could be breeding there. Which “squatter’ has the strength of lungs to withstand 25 degree nights in the cold? Diseases like polio, diptheria, and malaria start in places like this.

    For fire violations alone, there are grounds for dismissing the entire complex. Why is the Fire Department turning their heads away?I know I have driven by numerous times and have reported fires and smoke, coming out of the woods. I believe there is a town ordinance that open fires in unauthorized areas are illegal, such as in my backyard. (!) The complex can be closed down , just for this reason.

    Possession of illegal substances is certainly enough grounds for arrest. Why is the rest of the nation subject to scrutiny and this complex is separate to the law?

    But this is the apex of it all. Set aside all of our frustrations and anger on the situation. Now look with great compassion and mercy at the people in Tent City, just like I would look at my son. I would never let my child live that way. To allow people to live like that during the bitter winter is a breech of humanity. Please find a way, officials, to remove them from the squalor and misery and sub human conditions , and place them in a situation where they can live as rehabilitated citizens. And do this before the place burns to the ground with the wildest forest fires . Then there won’t be a problem.

    I am so sorry Tent City residents wound up this way. IN 2012 where everyone has a cell phone or a car, why are people living and sleeping in the cold, worse than third world countries.

  11. Harold,
    You lost, go home please. There are real people suffering here due to the indifference shown by the leader of this homeless encampment. Numerous suggestions and offeres of assistance has been rebuffed by their leader. Shelters in most all other cities are open only during evening hours and residents are forced to go through security checks to enforce no illegal substances or weapons are allowed. Bottom line there are rules that must be adhered to. THAT is why this leader is such a successful recruiter, tent city has no rules. It’s completely illegal, every man to themselves attitude. You pitch a tent you store whatever you want in it, you buy your alcohol or other illicit substances from a convenient location near by, & no one bothers you.
    The madness must end. Evict them now and enforce the law.

  12. This was supposed to be a public meeting and there was no mention in the change of address anywhere and where this meeting was to be held….that is appalling! How can you hold a public meeting and then not tell people where it is to be held! The note on the door said the meeting was Cancelled…not relocated!

  13. I am not sure but with all the affordable housing going up in Lakewood we can’t find 20 homes for the homeless to share. We just might be able to give them busing if they apply.

  14. There were many non Jews at the meetings and it was held at the municipal building due to the huge crowd. You sound like you have an agenda and coudnt care less about the quality of life issues that were discussed at the meeting.

  15. Maybe they could move in next door to your toy store.
    But seriously speaking. But ofcourse the township does nit want this lawlessness. Tent city is a hazard even to its own people. However since the matter is in the hands of the liberal judicial system, Lakewood is unable to do what it wants.
    Suggestion, contact habitat for humanity, place everyone in a temp shelter and one by one find housing.
    However you run this risk of every criminal and drug dealer will flock.
    During Sandy they should’ve fenced the whole thing off. Make everyone register now before flocking takes place and anyone new will b in eligible

    HOWEVER you run the risk of every jailbird infrared drug dealer

  16. it doesn’t really matter where the shacks would be located. the second word got out that being a homeless person in Lakewood is a free ticket to a shack and land with no rules we would have a problem far worse than the one we solved. Please stop using every issue as a springboard to attack our township officials who are genuinely try to work with us to solve the problem. By the way, there were women as well as non Jews at the meeting though they do not appear in the pictures.

  17. My question would be is why do we build pick up places for illegal workers to get picked up for work, allow slum lords to rent out houses to them in formally nice neighborhoods and yet there is nothing that can be done to help these homeless citizens without a boatload of red tape and politics?

  18. #22 is 100% wrong i was by the meeting and there were cencerned non jewish resident as well as women knockin does not help. lets not beat around the bush the issues discussed by the meeting are real issues, wether non jews or women came is petty issues compared to what was discussed.

  19. I thought the speakers did an excellent job of detailing the quality of life issues that Tent City is causing and I thought the moment of silence for the victims of Newtown CT prior to the start of the meeting was moving and very appropiate. It is good to see that Lakewood residents are caring individuals who are not just focused on their own town.

  20. To all you do gooders (HH included)… this is ridiculous… I wonder how many of the “homeless” are actually Lakewood citizens? It is not Lakewood’s problem to provide housing for every drug addict that wants to live in our woods! This is misplaced sympathy. They can go to a shelter or to any of the charity based offerings for them. Why should we tolerate the flagrant disregard for the law especially when it impacts the community?

  21. I like these people complaining about the drug dealing going on in the neighborhood. In case most of you dont know, this is a bad neighborhood. Just because you build a bunch of nice houses, does not change the fact that its still a bad neighborhood. Im not saying drug dealing is a good thing but you knew what you were getting into when you moved into the neighborhood regarding the drugs. What if these were jewish people living in the woods homeless. Would people be wanting to evict them? What if they smelled bad too? I think not. Lets have some pity on human beings. There should be oversight and rules for staying there. if you break them, you are out.

  22. This meeting was unfair. Many people did not know about it and it was not publicized. We should have a follow up meeting in a week or two to see what progress was made. It should be held in lake terrace to allow everyone to attend.

  23. whats YOUR problem? This person went to the address where the meeting was “officially” supposed to be and there was no sign as to where it was re-located! This person obv wanted to be involved in trying to help this situation.

  24. To#22….

    Maybe wives are home raising the children? So children are brought up with moral values and able to be positivily contributing factor to society and not play violent video games and watch violent videos all day.
    Oh and possible orthodox was there was because they live in that neighborhood and care about the situation. I really cant say it is over whelming black or hispanic area can you?? Oh so therefore there were mainly orthodox present…..

  25. please don’t moderate this out:
    why must we law abiding citizens get a fire permit for lag ba’omer and if we don’t the fire dept closes down our fires, yet they allow tent city to have fires with no permits? why the double standards??? The fire dept makes the rounds on lag baomer in all jewish neighborhoods Just to make sure. why don’t they visit tent city on a consistant basis?

  26. It came to this point because the twp. did nothing for 5 years, the first day tents showed up they should have evicted them, now they have to deal with a whole city of these (moderated)

  27. I would suggest that EVERY night EVERYONE in the vicinity call 911 to report fire/smoke in the cedarbridge area. I think that in short time, something will be done.

  28. Hey brisker dude, you always kvetch on this sight. Why don’t you change your name to something that won’t look so bad on certain people.

  29. Btw do a search on “registered offenders tent city Lakewood NJ” and you will be pleasantly surprised that there are 2 such people living there.
    According to the law the police must be notified when an offender locates to their municipality. I don’t remember hearing this mentioned in the meeting or in the townships lawsuit.
    It warms the bottom of my heart that we are opening our doors to such special people and are letting them live in a lawless environment, I am sure “Minister Steve” is keeping a very close eye on them.

    Maybe Mr Hershkowitz can open some dialogue with them, he could also offer them toys and ICE cream, the caring individual that he is.

  30. It was made clear last night that the fire dept is controlled by Ocean County and not the Township. They have decided by themselves not to control this area like they would any other. I agree that everybody should call 911 every night to report a fire and make them come down every night until they start really enforcing fire safety laws.

  31. People outside of our town fail to see our side of things a majority of the time concerning this issue. I’ve been seeing this more and more recently with comments posted on a specific social media site; people want us Lakewood residents to to care for and shelter these homeless. I am not one to be without compassion but come on, a lot of these people aren’t even from Lakewood anymore! This self appointed “Reverend” (and I use that term loosely here) started bringing in homeless people from NY and as far away as Florida years ago and settling them in those woods off Cedarbridge. At the time there was a small encampment of a few homeless Lakewood folks. His idea was to build up the camp in order to get more money in handouts and programs. He brought in homeless people from all over in order to draw attention to his group. It has since grown out of control and has made our whole town a joke. I’m tired of almost hitting chickens and rolling up my windows everytime I drive by. Enough is enough.

  32. Does anyone know under what circumstances the tent city was moved from rt 70 to Cedarbridge ? (Perhaps they can be moved again).
    Also are there any reliable figures as to what percentage of dwellers are originally from Lakewood ? I have heard that on occasion Brick police have simply brought over their homeless people to Cedarbridge ave.

    I suspect that the shortest and most effective path to take is to actually set up a shelter (for township residents only) with very strict rules similar to Atlantic City (ie : Screening at the door for contraband and insisting they get a job.) I am sure that in a very short while the homeless will move on to greener pastures.

  33. Perhaps instead of wringing hands it is tome to use the tactics of those who support this dangerous encampment. The names phone numbers and E-mail addresses of those who support this should be publicized, and everyone in the community should contact them, so they can understand the negative impact these hundred people are having on hundred of other people NJ Coalition of Homelesness

  34. Nothing will help the situation except for a new judge. The township has gone to court many times over this and the judge keeps throwing out the case . All we need is a new judge who’s not a liberal and really understands the history of the situation and we’ll get rid of these guys in a flash!

  35. To most people complaining tent city was there before you were so why not try and help those people instead of trying to get the land to build more townhouses and condos for your people.

  36. It seems once again my words got mangled by a few people that hear what they want. What I clearly said was that it is the failure of those in charge of quality of life issues to enforce the law during the day that caused the tent city problem in the first place. Many of those that cause problems on the streets and their actions are overlooked are the selfsame people that reside in tent city at night.

  37. @51 it was mentioned to the lawyer after the meeting, he was happy with that piece of info. – i hope it will help out and we will see them relocated asap.

  38. If a home is foreclosed on the Sheriff will come evict the “tenants”, why can’t we get the Sheriff’s department to come collect all these illegal trespasers and put a big fence around the area. It’s not our problem where they go, as one of the participants said, there are currently many shelters available due to Sandy.

  39. The bottom line is that the township allowed this all to happen for whatever reason. The trespasser’s camp had multiply by a few dozen early on because the committee never sanctioned the police to move the violators off the property when the camp was first founded . The county and state want no part of it because no elected official wants these homeless people moved to their own backyard. Now that Judicial system is involved Lakewood is stuck with a problem that they let happen in the first place. As for the smoke, As long as it is coming from an enclosed heating system there is no law being broken. But if it’s coming from an open fire such as a burn barrel or camp fire that’s a whole different situation. Again the town father’s drop the ball by allowing trespassers.

  40. the smoke is coming from open fires as they burn all sorts of garbage. that is a Fact. secondly, mr. harold- these are the wrong people to give cabins to and let them live as they want (not controlled) They Are Drug Abusers, Mentaly ill and these ppl NEED a controlled environment, otherwise once u give them a place,it will be as bad as it is now . THERE ARE LIVE CHICKEN WANDERING AROUND there, they come out to cedarbride for G-ds sake!!!! so please, KNOW who ur dealing with!

  41. Evict them all. They are making Lakewood which is on the verge of ghetto to being a full fledge ghetto. They are even moving their tents closer to the street. Are they making apoint “Here we are and there isn’t a thing you can do about it” Go in tear down all tents and tell all these dregs they need to go.

    As for the illegally done road….If they don’t need permits, they neither should YOU. I’m done with applying for permits. The law MUST apply to all.

  42. Its amazing how one-sided these posts are and how the Scoop moderates any comment that doesn’t support that side. I have tried to post numerous comments debunking every rumor attributed to Tent City and have not had a single one gone through. Why only show the hate and shame of the town TLS and not the caring and compassion and the truth?

  43. What’s needed is the township or county needs to take on the responsibilty and put them all in a temporary shelter….tell the homeless they have to go to it or their tent will be taken down. tell the reverend and anyone else involved with the lawsuit they have kept to their end of the deal by providing a shelter and although it may not be perfect its the best they can do for now and its the way it is…then allow the township to deal with the lawsuit as a separate issue while the homeless are in shelter, not in tent city. What’s the problem, its simple.
    The township nor the county should think that as this bad weather approaches anyone should be outside sleeping in a tent, heat or no heat. This is completely rediculous and should be done NOW not after the new year or any other time, NOW! And if they don’t residents of lakewood and ocean county should file a claim against the township and the county for not doing so. So what is everyone waiting for?!

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