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.
Minister Steven A. Brigham originally from Grand Rapids Michigan, made his roots in Lakewood in 1970 when his father was transferred from his job to Manhattan. Growing up in a socially conscious family, he attended Bible School in Cincinnati and Seminary in North Jersey. He worked for a high voltage electrical contractor for 17 years working on the Port Authority bridges and became an ordained minister in 2003.
While working as an electrical engineer he increased his involvement in the church. While visiting a boarding home, Brigham met a man who could not pay his months rent. Not having much money and being an avid camper Brigham offered the man all he would need to survive in the woods and relocated him by some railroad tracks. He then set off stating he would return in a few days to check on him. Upon his arrival, the man said there were others he had found living in the woods that needed help. Minister Brigham at that time realized homelessness was a larger issue and that he had a responsibility to help. Wandering through the woods he came upon a clearing that appeared perfect for setting up a small camp with a few tents hoping that together they might begin perhaps taking care of each other. This clearing in the woods, that began with about 3 tents, is now home to approximately 100 homeless individuals known as "Tent City" in Lakewood, NJ.
Minister Steven Brigham has maintained the day to day operations of "Tent City" for approximately 12 years managing to create enough awareness that charitable donations from a variety of sources provide for the basic day to day survival needs of the residents living there. He gave up his personal work and has been living among the homeless himself in a tent for approximately 4 of the 12 years. He has kept the media and outside communities aware of the situation in order to bring awareness to the plight of the homeless and the lack of and need for a shelter in Ocean County. "Tent City" has survived throughout every storm, and has managed to win a court battle in Superior Court. In 2012 Brigham was awarded the Governor's Jefferson Award for his volunteer work.
Minister Steven Brigham strives to create his dream community, "Destiny's Bridge". He envisions a world that goes back to natural renewable systems and a society that allows for the back-to-basics sustainable way of life. He continues on his life path committed to righteous causes and hopes that a day will come when everyone's right to affordable housing can be met. His strengths lie in Social Justice, Economics, Ethics and Homelessness. Minister Steven Brigham is a visionary as well as powerful activist. He has overcome tremendous adversity rising above physical, emotional, and environmental obstacles in pursuit of dignity and justice for all.