Lakewood: Tent City Officially Closed as Township Regains Possession of Land


lakewood-tent-cityLakewood, NJ  – The saga is finally over. Lakewood Township has officially repossessed the area along Cedar Bridge Avenue that has hosted the illegal homeless encampment known as Tent City.

Deputy Mayor Isaac Akerman, the man who has spearheaded the campaign to ensure the closure of Tent City, confirmed that they have finally achieved success.

“The Township will be evacuating the last few stragglers this week,” he said. “We will place those individuals in motels and close down the encampment.”

The individuals who remain will be placed under the municipality’s auspices. Many of the earlier evacuees had been turned over to Ocean County, but Lakewood will assume responsibility for these residents. They will be housed in various area motels until a more permanent arrangement is found.

Akerman also confirmed that police are ensuring that no new squatters will make their way to the area.

“The Lakewood Police Department is on the scene every day,” he said. “If anyone is in the area and doesn’t belong there, they are immediately evicted as trespassers. You have to realize that for every tent that goes up, it costs the Township several hundred dollars to clear it out. Between investigating whether the man belongs there and tearing down, it costs money. So we are definitely being proactive in making sure that once people are out, no new residents are moving in.”

Even Tent City founder Steve Brigham has concluded that the fight is over. A recent posting on the internet showed Brigham taking apart the makeshift chapel he had constructed at the site. Those pictures came as a big relief to local askonim, a Township official noted, as the optics of a majority Jewish town taking apart a chapel for the homeless would have been very poor indeed. Brigham’s decision to take down the chapel himself obviated that dilemma.

Now the cleanup process begins. This alone could take several months, as all the debris accumulated over several years of use is disposed of. But neighbors don’t mind, as the element Tent City brought to the neighborhood is gone for good.

{Gavriel Newscenter}