March To Raise Awareness For Ocean County Homeless
A walk and cadlelight vigil in Lakewood is hoping to raise awareness for homelessness in Ocean County.
Supported by a host of organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Jackson which has been making a statement against homelessness in the county, the memorial walk will start at Lakewood's "Tent City" and move to the Town Hall where a candle light vigil will be held.
Pastor Steve Brigham is the spokesman and head of Tent City, he says the memorial serves as a reminder to people of the the difficulty winter presents to those without homes.
"There's been people that have froze to death sleeping in automobiles in Ocean County. In years past there have been people who have died from pneumonia or have died from frostbite complications having part of their legs amputated."
Many from the Tent City will be marching along with supporters. Brigham states that one of the problems is that Ocean County has no formal kind of shelter for those without a home. He notes that simply putting people up in a motel room temporarily is not the answer, they need with a structure and support system.
"It's a very akward system, it's an archaic system, it's outdated. The supportive services aren't really their to help people get back on their feet and back into the working world."
Compounded with the lack of support, Brigham cited the increasingly high cost of living in the county. Stating that it takes a person twenty one dollars per hour to be able to support themselves with a place to live, own a used car, and be able to pay bills. His solution to help get people back on thier feet is to have the county and municipalities focus on housing that people can afford.
"We just need to go back to basics, it really not complicated. Just build small houses on small peices of property" he adds that additionally wages need to be substantial so people can have a chance of any independence.
"My definition of affordable housing housing is that if you work at McDonalds you can afford a place to stay working at McDonalds."
- Vans will shuttle walkers from the Lakewood Community Square (Clifton Av between Third and Fourth Street) to Tent City between 5 and 5:30 p.m.
- The march will begin at Tent City @ 5:30 p.m.
- A candlelight vigil will begin at 6 p.m. outside town hall.
- Those unable to march can welcome the walkers at town hall.
- More information: ochomeless.blogspot.com