Founder Of ‘Tent City’ Homeless Camp In Lakewood Arrested For Second Time In Two Days


rev-steven-brighamLakewood, NJ – The founder of the township’s “Tent City” homeless encampment was arrested and jailed for the second time in as many days on Tuesday night, police said.

Just hours after the Rev. Steven Brigham was released from Ocean County Jail after evicting a 50-year-old woman from the camp, he was back in the jail on similar charges related to an incident at the camp on Monday involving the eviction of a 39-year-old man, said township police Detective Capt. Paul Daly.

Brigham, 52, was arrested at the encampment off Cedar Bridge Avenue at South Clover Street, around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday when police arrived with a bench warrant for his arrest on charges of witness tampering and vandalism related to the eviction of the man a day earlier.

Brigham said Wednesday that he evicted the man because he was using drugs and being disruptive in the camp.

“He is a heroin addict who had been stealing in the camp,” Brigham said. “We asked him to leave, but he wouldn’t leave, so we took down his tent. He told police that I was intimidating him and that I was telling him that if he said something to the police, I would do something to him, which is totally false, totally trumped-up charges.”

But police charge that Brigham’s cutting down of the man’s tent was an act of vandalism and that he also embarked on a course of intimidation in an attempt to remove the man from the camp, Daly said.

Brigham spent a few hours in the county jail in Toms River and was released around 1 a.m. Wednesday after a supporter posted a $1,150 bond to satisfy the $11,500 bail for a second day in a row, he said.

In the prior incident, Brigham had been sent to the jail on Monday night and was released early Tuesday after police charged him with vandalism and witness tampering. Those charges were filed after he evicted the 50-year-old woman from the encampment after she was spotted talking to police on Monday, according to Daly.

But Brigham said the woman was engaging in illegal activity inside the camp, and was a disruptive presence in the camp.

Campers inside “Tent City” said both of the campers evicted on Monday had returned to the camp, but they were not available to comment.

{Asbury Park Press/ Newscenter}


  1. Prayers for all the homeless people of the world. It is a scourge that must be eliminated. This should not be a problem in so called “wealthy” countries. Australia’s improving policies on this issue over last ten years are a model for the world.

  2. I hope Lakewood Police get rid of tent city all together. It poses many threats to the comunties health and safety. These people are not from middle class homes that just lost there jobs and became homeless. They are drug attacks!!!! And there leader getting dealing it to them makes perfect sense…..
    I hope the township wins and gets them outta there.