Tent City: The Movement
Even though the homeless enclave in Lakewood, known as Tent City, is essentially closed, the 29 individuals who remain aren’t planning to go away quietly. There are large signs off Cedar Bridge Avenue urging passers by to “Support Tent City” and to “Love Thy Neighbor”. There have also been a number of protest in front of the entrance of the soon-to-be-shuttered homeless encampment, as well as marches to Lakewood’s town square.
“We’re looking for a better way to alert supporters if there will be another set of rallies, if we’ll be attending the Lakewood Township Municipal Committee meetings or if we’ll be going to county or state political meetings,” said Libman.
Libman predicts that the closure of the Lakewood site, will not end the issue of the homeless living in the woods of Ocean County or anywhere else in the state for that matter. He said it will only lead to the creation of smaller scattered sites.
“Tent City is happening that is not limited to this location. If they demolish this location, inevitably people will look for other places to go.”
However, Libman said the large homeless encampment off Cedar Bridge Avenue was seen as an ideal site for a Tent City because of its access to the Lakewood Industrial Park, mass transit and social services. He said the goal of Tent City was to offer rehabilitation and job search assistance to residents but that broke down to the challenge of just surviving in the woods as the very public conflict with the township and county repelled donors, volunteers and counselors.