A poverty-driven Sukkot

Like many cities, Lakewood, New Jersey, about 60 miles south of New York City, lacks an adequate social service network, and has no homeless shelter.

In its woods, six dozen homeless people have set up a camp in tents, teepees, and huts, residents of what they call Tent City. It’s a place where those out of work and out of luck can drop out of society while living as cheaply as possible.

In the Fall of 2010, the township filed a lawsuit against the residents on the grounds of trespassing. As a result of the media attention, a high profile law firm is now representing Tent City pro-bono, and countersuing Ocean County, New Jersey. The case is currently with the New Jersey Superior Court, and the outcome will determine the fate of Tent City. It may also begin to clarify the government’s constitutional role in providing adequate shelter for the homeless.

Rev. Steven Brigham, who founded Tent City in 2006 as part of his Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church, says the people living there are a community, and have a sense of belonging. He receives donations from individuals, churches and synagogues that he says allow him to operate Tent City for about $1,000-a-month.

The jobless in New Jersey find refuge in Tent City

In the Woods – a documentary about life in Tent City

In the Woods Blog

You can help Rev. Steve Brigham of Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church with a donation by check (in US funds only). Make check out to “Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church” and send it to:

Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church
PO Box 326
Lakewood, NJ 08701-0326

Other Links;

Tent City – Wikipedia

Tent – Wikipedia

Feast of Shelters/Booths/Ingathering/Sukkot
Cesidian Feast of Shelters: 14 October every year

Callahan v. Carey and the Legal Right to Shelter