This is the old Web-site for the "Dillville" Tent City of Lakewood, NJ. Our camp was bulldozed by the Lakewood Township government in June 2014! This Web-site is preserved for historical reasons.


Demolition of Abandoned Tents

This page is a collaborative description by eyewitnesses of the events that took place at Tent City starting on June 21st, 2013, involving the demolition of so-called "abandoned" tents and shanties by the Lakewood Township.

This is a news article in progress - details will be added as information, quotes, photos, and videos become available.

Eyewitnesses Observations

Friday, June 21st, 2013

At around 9:00 AM, bulldozers came to start tearing apart "uninhabited" tents in TC. Those tents were identified in advance, and Tent City administrators were asked to mark them with a red X.

The uniformed clean-up workers were accompanied by Lakewood Police officers. At least two bulldozer-type machines, a dump truck, and a police SUV were present.

In spite of the claim that the tents were abandoned and identified in advance, Alex Libman witnessed the destruction of possessions that other residents at Tent City would have likely chosen to salvage, including a new-looking propane stove, a microwave, sheets of tarp, dishes and kitchenware, etc.  It is notable that the New Jersey State Constitution proclaims the right of individuals to be secure in their possession of property.

The clean-up workers and the accompanying police left at around 2:00 PM, having demolished (number?) tents. Several small trees were also damaged in the process.

Possible Reckless Endangerment?

Matt says he witnessed a bulldozer attempt to demolish a structure without first checking it, and a man was almost crushed inside it. The unidentified occupant of the structure narrowly escaped by cutting a hole through the back of his tent just before the machine destroyed it. When Matt brought Alex Libman to show him the spot where this happened, no physical evidence remained, and the alleged victim was nowhere to be found.

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The bulldozers and police came back at around 8:30am, and the demolition "work" continued until around 3:00pm.  The heavy equipment present this day included about three dump-trucks, in addition to two bulldozers and a police cruiser.  Several structures marked with an X remained standing at the end of the day, so presumably the demolition will continue another day.

Several dozen more trees were damaged in the process, including dangerous examples of broken heavy branches that could fall at a later time and cause injuries to anyone who happened to be underneath.  

Added track damage to the unpaved roads makes biking and walking at night more dangerous, and is likely to result in mud and puddles.  Some of these activities - or at least their results - might be considered to be in violation of the NJ Superior Court's order that officials of Lakewood Township are prohibitied from using their police powers in ways that would undermine provisions of the consent order/agreement.

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

(todo)


Press Coverage

Asbury Park Press

On June 25th, APP ran a front page article:

Tent City cleanup begins: Lakewood workers remove empty structures at homeless camp

By Margaret F. Bonafide; mbonafide@njpressmedia.com; 732-984-0417


The Lakewood Scoop

The Lakewood Scoop ran an article titled: "Township Tears Down "Illegal Tents" at Tent City".

Among many other inaccuracies, this article falsely claims that "20" "illegal" tents were demolished that day. The total number of tents marked for demolition is about 15, and only a fraction of the work was completed on this day.


The Lakewood Shopper

On 2013-06-21, The Lakewood Shopper ran an article titled, "Rain Postpones Tent City Demolitions" ("The Township News" section, page 22):

The Lakewood Police, Department of Public Works, and STEPS Director Mike McNiel [sic] were supposed to meet this week at Tent City to put the plan of winding the encampment down into action. Presently, Ocean County Social Services has developed a census of who will be included in the placement efforts. All others are disqualified and the powers that be felt it would be important to send a clear message... +


On 2013-06-28, the The Shopper ran a headline: Tent City Dismantlement Progressing (page 22).

It included four photographs of the demolition and clean-up, and the text:

Following a slight delay on the originally planned day, the Township has begun actively dismantling tents in Tent City. According to Mayor Akerman, the Township has and will continue to dismantle a few tents a day as the homeless are placed.
At the same time, Lakewood Police retains a few officers on site to assure that no one impedes the Township workers from dismantling the structures, and... +


Reactions

All this, and probably tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, all to make 15 poor people homeless again...

Damage to Roads and Trees

Gallery of 36 images:   Facebook

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