Tent City residents protest Lakewood ordinance banning wood fired heaters outdoors (Ilya Hemlin Townsquare Media NJ)

With winter approaching the leader of Lakewood’s Tent City claims the Township is not living up to its part of a judge-ordered consent agreement. During a protest over a Township ordinance banning using wooden stoves outdoors on Monday, Tent City leader Reverend Steve Brigham said Lakewood has not placed one member of the encampment into more permanent housing.

“The Township hasn’t a single person, not one single person since the consent order was signed.”

The ordered, signed nine months ago, closes down the encampment of Cedar Bridge Road but permanent residences must be provided for the camp’s inhabitants. Expanding the camp or building permanent shelters within its grounds is forbidden.

Brigham believes the Township is purposely dragging its feet on placing individuals as a means of “freezing them out.”

“We’re concerned at what they’re trying to do is eliminate people. Waiting longer to try and eliminate people.”

The consent agreement requires social services conduct interviews with the camp’s residences, however Tent City dwellers must go to Toms River for it. Brigham has asked Lakewood to have staff on site in Tent City, but to no avail.

“We asked if the Township would bring a trailer into Tent City for a social worker to work from the trailer to help the homeless because they have to go to Toms River and get transportation, which makes it awkward.”