Tent City Leaders Enraged by Buyout - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Tent City Leaders Enraged by Buyout



    NBC10's Ted Greenberg talks to protestors opposing the shut down of a homeless encampment in Lakewood, New Jersey. (Published Thursday, June 5, 2014)

    A $3500 buyout  was given to some of the homeless in Ocean County to abandon their residences in a controversial tent city, but encampment leaders say the money shouldn’t have been dished out.

    Supporters and residents of the controversial encampment on township-owned land in Lakewood took to the street to protest its shutdown, which could come as early as next week.

    “It’s wrong,” said tent city supporter Leigh Ann Lough. “It’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong.”

    “You can’t just push people away,” a resident said.

    But township officials say the tent city is dangerous and have been destroying tents and shacks there for months – while providing more than 50 of the encampments 120 former residents with free housing for a year in compliance with a court order in the township.

    Others took buyouts of up to $3500 to help pay for their housing.

    Now, leaders and supporters of the tent city are mad, saying that the buyout shouldn’t have been dished out to people who don’t know how to spend the money.

    “If you take somebody who is desperate and dangle that carrot in front of their face, of course they’re going to grab it,” said Lough.

    One man used the check to buy a car. That car was towed for being unregistered, according to tent city coordinator Steve Brigham.

    NBC10’s Ted Greenberg reached out to local leaders who haven’t responded for comment. They, however, say in a previous interview that tent city residents can protest all they want, the encampment is still going to be shut down.