Lakewood’s former Tent City depicted in Photo Exhibit
A Middlesex County woman is hoping to change attitudes on homelessness through a photo exhibit highlighting the former Tent City in Lakewood. Sherry Rubel's exhibit goes on display July 10 at The Monmouth Museum at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.
Although Rubel had been somewhat of an advocate already from non-profit groups mother had started, she said she was compelled to do something more for the homeless after completing the photojournalism project, especially after learning about Tiny Homes projects that were gaining popularity in other parts of the nation. That's how she came up with "Revival Village" based on the tiny homes concept.
"I just could not get this idea and this vision of building this community out of my mind," said Rubel.
That determination and passion drove her to rally in Trenton and get the attention of state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D). Rubel met with staff from Sweeney's office and Seantor Raymond J. Lesniak (D) who helped draft legislation that would create a Tiny Homes Pilot Program.
Rubel's "Revival Village" concept varies from the proposed legislation.
"In the legislation things have gotten lost in the translation because for me going, it wasn't really about building tiny homes as a vehicle of affordable housing units, it was more about building this community that I envisioned for the homeless people and that really didn't have anything to do with HUD and subsidized housing and things of that nature. It was about being able to use Tiny Homes rather than pitching tents, but still building a community that would empower homeless people and provide job training and jobs, and give them a sense of community," she explained. "It was really about getting them to become productive members of society and giving back to society."
Rubel said she has been told that it could be difficult for the state to find the funding to support the Tiny Homes.
She is hopeful though that a pilot program will come to fruition and said she has meetings scheduled with lawmakers in the coming weeks.
Her exhibit "Changing Perspectives" will be on display July 10 through August 9, 2015 at The Monmouth Museum. An opening reception takes place that Friday from 6-8 p.m. and a Gallery Talk is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, 7-8 p.m.