Major Breakthrough in Tent City Standoff
An attorney for Lakewood's Tent City residents is calling a final consent order a major victory for the homeless of Ocean County.
Attorney Jeffrey Wild, a Partner at the Lowenstein Sandler Law Firm, says as a result of a court order signed Thursday by him and the attorney representing Lakewood Township, "everyone in tent city will be free to live there on public land unless than until they are offered at least one year of safe and adequate indoor housing"
Wild says under the agreement, Lakewood agreed to dismiss all municipal code violations against the Cedar Bridge Avenue encampment, provide garbage pickup, allow for the servicing of portable bathrooms on the property, food and supply deliveries, permit holes in the main dirt road to be filled and to allow tent city leader Minister Steven Brigham the option to continue living at the site.
Tent city residents have also agreed to cooperate in a census listing exactly who's living at the site.
Wild says the way it's going to work is that step 1 there's going be a census of all the men and women currently in tent city, each of those people will go through a screening process to see if they are qualified for government benefits but regardless of whether they are found eligible or not they will be entitled to remain in tent city until Lakewood or the County or someone else can offer them a safe indoor place to live for at least one year.
Wild says there was also a major breakthrough on the County level as well. He says Ocean County officials also agreed to enter into a dialogue of providing a housing center (a shelter) for the homeless and in good faith, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission agreed to dismiss its motion against the county.