Lakewood: Township Helps the Homeless and the Cold throughout the Night


lakewood-tent-cityLakewood, NJ – 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.”

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.

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.

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  1. I am a Tent City resident, and I can confirm that help has been offered – although the vast majority of Tent City residents chose to stay in camp.

    Minister Steve Brigham says the total of 3 people from Tent City went to outside shelter, all to 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.)

    Last night was the coldest night in recent history of this region. We seem to have made it through OK – thanks to our supporters, and the fact that the local government was forced to allow us to continue using wood-burning stoves, as we were unable to raise enough funds to switch everyone to propane heat… I recognize that the smoke issue may be a legitimate complaint against us, and we need to discuss this constructively. This tolerance of wood-burning stoves is in theory temporary, and if the government can reinstate the ban then we are in trouble…
    We need all the help we can get in spreading the word about our situation and soliciting financial donations, with links to (direct to PayPal form) or (other online donation info). If we could get enough donations, we could switch everybody to propane and there would be no more smoke.
    Tent City is saving the taxpayers millions of dollars by sheltering the homeless on unused “public land” (which is called “homestading”, not “squatting”). The cost of government shelter is MUCH higher, and it fails to offer many of the benefits of a community, voluntary charity, and mutual aid that we have here at Tent City.

    Tent City management has many financial expenses to just to keep afloat – fuel, building materials, equipment repairs, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and other essentials we don’t always get as donations, etc. There are also many other improvements that we would like to make to Tent City, like to help our residents improve their job prospects, but we cannot afford the financial expenses involved…

    To learn more about our Tent City, please visit

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