Ocean County officials continue to defend their handling of the homeless situation while issuing a staunch message to tent city advocates; drop the lawsuit or the conversation is over.

At this week's Ocean County Freeholder meeting, officials were confronted by supporters of the men and women living out in the woods in Lakewood Township, about their plans to solve the crisis that seemingly gets worse with each passing year.

While a lawsuit is currently underway for officials to be forced to construct a permanent brick and mortar homeless shelter nearby, the board of five Freeholders have had enough. They've been promoting the many different services and programs offered by the Board of Social Services and won't have any more talks about the issue until they cancel the litigation.

John Sahradnik, the attorney representing the Board of Freeholders and Ocean County, says "it would be totally inappropriate for these talks to continue while this lawsuit is going through. I do agree with Deputy Mayor Steven Langert from Lakewood that this isn't a political issue - it's a social one. And the people in support should really take a step back and realize there is help out there."

While Sahradnik doesn't dispute the "fall through the cracks" claim many of the supporters have said, he does say "we have helped many people get back on their feet in this situation and are willing to work with anyone but they have to meet us half way."

All parties involved will be in court next month for a case management conference with a judge.

Hundreds of homeless, advocates and supporters marched earlier this week from tent city to Lakewood's town center to rally support.