Ocean County Tent Homeless seek help

The more than sixty (60) homeless people living in a tent city in Lakewood pleaded their case to the Board of Chosen Freeholders last night. The concerns raised are common not only in Ocean County but also across New Jersey and the entire country. The way to way to end homelessness is to provide homes for the homeless. The way to do that is to develop a ten year plan to end homelessness like Mercer, Morris and Camden counties have done and Hudson, Passaic, Bergen, Sussex and Middlesex are developing.

Unlink our usual poilicy of linking to the press article we reprint this one in its entirety. The link can be found by clicking here.

Ocean county hears bid for homeless aid

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 10/18/07

BY KIRK MOORE. TOMS RIVER BUREAU

TOMS RIVER – Homeless people who live in a forest clearing in Lakewood and their advocates came to the Ocean County Board of Freeholders Wednesday, asking for county government help a few days after Lakewood officials directed the campers to stop using propane gas for cooking and heating.

A presentation by advocates Alice E. Kelsey and MaryAnn Sorenson Allacci touched off a prolonged discussion among freeholders and the homeless, a group that in many cases can’t qualify for more aid under stringent federal rules.

Freeholder Gerry P. Little said the county’s housing aid effort this week has more than 1,000 families in shelter, mostly mothers with children who stay in 38 motels around the county that contract with the Board of Social Services.

But for Christina Jergar, 25, that system isn’t available – despite the fact that’s she’s pregnant.

“They said they couldn’t help me, because my ex put a restraining order on me,” Jergar explained, as social service workers talked to her and the other homeless about their situations.

Little said federal reporting and privacy rules prevent county officials from commenting in detail about why this segment of the homeless population can’t get into publicly funded shelters. That population is estimated at 60 people from Lakewood to Berkeley, according to surveys this year by county workers and Georgian Court University students.

But, as Jergar said, contact with the criminal justice system can be one disqualifier under federal rules. The “chronic unsheltered homeless” problem is one that social service efforts seem unable to fix, both activists and county officials said.

The Lakewood encampment is used “because people feel safe there, and their needs are addressed” with tents for shelter and fuel, Sorenson Allacci said.

For her and Kelsey, the answer is for the county to liberalize its housing policies and for municipalities to build truly low-income housing. “It’s so tight, the housing market, that it’s almost impossible for people not to end up on the street if they make a mistake or get sick,” Sorenson Allacci said.

Camp residents said they’re worried about the upcoming winter after Lakewood code official Ed Mack told them to stop using propane for safety reasons. A fire last winter destroyed a tent at the camp off Route 88, but the occupant escaped serious injury.

“There’s 30 or 40 boarded-up houses in Lakewood,” Jergar said. “Get a bunch of us homeless together and maybe we could fix a few of those houses.”

“There’s no shortage of housing for these homeless,” said Freeholder Director John P. Kelly. “There is funding for anyone who qualifies.”

But those qualifications can be a problem, especially under federal program requirements promulgated during the 1996 welfare reform, Little said.

On Sept. 13, a large group of county workers visited the encampment, and they found at least four people there were qualified for housing vouchers, Little said.

They also counted 13 undocumented immigrants who don’t qualify for aid, Little said. As for the other situations cited by camp residents and advocates, Little said, “often it’s impossible for us to respond” because of privacy rules. “It’s hard to defend yourself.”

“It doesn’t address the problem of chronic homeless who don’t meet the state and federal criteria,” Kelsey said. She told the freeholders they need a “10-year plan” to deal with low-income housing needs.

As for the propane order, Kelsey recalled the words of Steve Brigham, a local minister who supplies the fuel and has said he will risk a summons to keep bringing it.

Last spring, Brigham said, “I thank God no one froze to death last winter,” Kelsey recalled. “The only thing more dangerous than propane is not having propane.”

12 comments comments closed

  1. 25 years old, pregnant and squatting in a forest? this type of chronic homelessness will never be solved by feeding watering bringing fuel clothes etc. to these people- they are chronic freeloaders- they have no intention to work, they only consume goods and services and will never pay or lift a pinky to help themselves-ever.it sure takes nerve for these people to think they can just take over empty property that belongs to someone else, someone who gets up every day and goes to WORK.there is only one solution for homelessness and its NOT building houses for homeless people-someone has to pay for that- the hardworking taxpayers should not be expected to be saddled with a bunch of lazy shiftless people who sure have time and energy to smoke, drink, procreate and demand someone pay their way.NO MORE- WORK-GO TO WORK- only then will you not be homeless.enough is enough.

  2. 25 years old, pregnant and squatting in a forest? this type of chronic homelessness will never be solved by feeding watering bringing fuel clothes etc. to these people- they are chronic freeloaders- they have no intention to work, they only consume goods and services and will never pay or lift a pinky to help themselves-ever.it sure takes nerve for these people to think they can just take over empty property that belongs to someone else, someone who gets up every day and goes to WORK.there is only one solution for homelessness and its NOT building houses for homeless people-someone has to pay for that- the hardworking taxpayers should not be expected to be saddled with a bunch of lazy shiftless people who sure have time and energy to smoke, drink, procreate and demand someone pay their way.NO MORE- WORK-GO TO WORK- only then will you not be homeless.enough is enough.

  3. First we see odd things that are out of place, beyond the norm, and then our first reaction is that whatever is odd, is bad and should either be banished or fixed. That is our nature. All my life, on occasion, I have seen people out on streets apparently sleeping there, living without a home. This has always seemed odd to me. I have seen this problem, in all cities that I have visited in our “great” country, and having done some traveling recently in Russia, I have seen it there too. Apparently, this problem exists everywhere around the world… though I don’t really know… maybe there are some countries out there somewhere, who have figured out how to actually fix or prevent this type of problem from occurring.

    I do not think we should blame those out there, who for whatever reasons in their personal lives, feel compelled to sleep out there, in what can be very dangerous situations. It was just a few years ago in 10/04, when a gang of teens from Toms River area, nearly killed a guy who was minding his own business but yet, sleeping in a tent somewhere in that area. They knocked him up with a pipe and a hockey stick or something, broke a few ribs and punctured his lung, etc. As it turns out, my Dad’s a long time doctor… now 80 years old, but with a vast experience and knowledge base on medical and ethical matters of this type. He once told me that 70% of the folks living out there, have some sort of mental illness. Isn’t that some sort of medical ailment that should be treated? Why is it that for so long, the kind of health insurance we establish for ourselves and for others, by way of the laws and regulations we set up thru our politicians, does not cover the long term treatment and maintenance of those who happen to have brain illnesses, that we call mental illness?

    Going with that 70% are mentally ill but not getting treatment theory… there’s still the other 30% to talk about…. and there’s also the reasons behind such the development of such 70% mentally ill living out on street somewhere. Well, once I met a guy in a campground I was camping in down in FL, who told me that there are millions and millions of homeless veterans out there, living on streets somewhere. Why is that? Well, for whatever reason, at times are State Dept. fails in it’s job to make agreements peacefully, and so then our sons and daughters are sent somewhere to secure important lands, such as lands that have lots of oil under them, that we need to keep the cost of our gas low, so that we can drive our funny SUVs and also, heat our homes, in affordable ways. When our State Dept. fails like that, and we end up in wars… well, then an awful lot of those sent over there to fight, come back with injuries, and a lot of those injuries, are brain injuries. So, that’s where a lot of the 70% mentally ill living out on streets, comes from. Should we figure out how to travel around and heat our homes in ways that don’t use oil under far away lands? Makes sense to me. Anybody ever try to drive down Rt. 9 from Toms River southward to Manahawkin lately, during middle of afternoon? We’re talking a major parking lot there, not a road anymore, because it’s so clogged. How about painting the lines on road such that there could be one or two dedicated lanes for buses to travel on, thereby making it more attractive to actually do what our President has told us to do, which is to ride buses and trains more often. Sure, there are some small problems with that idea that would need to be worked out, but heck, we have a lot of retired engineers around this area, who could easily work with towns and counties to show how it could work, with minimal investments needed.

    O.k…. How about the other 30% homeless out there, who aren’t mentally ill? Why are they out there, and should be kick them in their butts… or should we lend a hand? Well, before thinking too hard about them, let’s add into this populace, the other millions of us who are just one or two paychecks away from going belly up, unable to pay mortgage suddenly. Now there’s a fun and big constituency for a smart politician to enjoy talking to and helping out a bit. All those who are just one or two paychecks away from being homeless suddenly, due to layoff or due to a health calamity in their family which requires them to stop working… just to deal with things… should be thought of as “nearly homeless”. Their finances are shaky, they can barely afford rent or mortgage on their homes. They are way under-employed compared to the kinds of experience they have and kinds of education and capabilities. Yet, for reasons beyond their control, they just have not been able to climb back up to a place where they don’t feel anxious all the time, about suddenly having to sell their house… or suddenly have to pack up and move into a van or just punt and give up, ending up in a tent city somewhere, or something.

    So, yes, there are many stories behind each individual homeless person. There are usually, very good reasons why each of them, has to take that risk… to live out there on the streets somewhere. Maybe there’s a few of them, who have been caring for a loved one who has a gradually progressive neurological disease like my wife does, (ALS – Lou Gehrigs disease), over many many years… and while their families and friends have been so helpful and supportive over so many years for them… at some point, they are tired of always having to depend on others, and so, they just want to be able to support themselves, but find that, they can’f land a job in the profession that they used to work in, (eg. mechanical engineering), because the industry trend has offshored that role, to places in the world where folks can be found who will do that role, for 10x cheaper…. (a result of the world being “flat” lately, per Tom Friedman’s famous phrase).

    So yeah, there are lots of reasons for so many being out there, living on the streets day to day, getting by under risky situations, using their wits all the time, just to survive.

    For those with the political power: Just do the right thing. Of course the right thing is along the lines of what all the other counties are doing, which is to establish a good ten year plan, to address and fix this odd problem of homelessness. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of remembering that we are all human, prone to make mistakes, prone to fall at times when economic or social or other kinds of calamatous forces hit us, all connected as children of one God, who ought to care for each other, a bit more then we usually do. Just do the right thing. Set up the committees needed. Find the funding needed. Let’s fix this homeless problem now, not later. What we do for the least, we do for God, seems to me.

  4. First we see odd things that are out of place, beyond the norm, and then our first reaction is that whatever is odd, is bad and should either be banished or fixed. That is our nature. All my life, on occasion, I have seen people out on streets apparently sleeping there, living without a home. This has always seemed odd to me. I have seen this problem, in all cities that I have visited in our “great” country, and having done some traveling recently in Russia, I have seen it there too. Apparently, this problem exists everywhere around the world… though I don’t really know… maybe there are some countries out there somewhere, who have figured out how to actually fix or prevent this type of problem from occurring.

    I do not think we should blame those out there, who for whatever reasons in their personal lives, feel compelled to sleep out there, in what can be very dangerous situations. It was just a few years ago in 10/04, when a gang of teens from Toms River area, nearly killed a guy who was minding his own business but yet, sleeping in a tent somewhere in that area. They knocked him up with a pipe and a hockey stick or something, broke a few ribs and punctured his lung, etc. As it turns out, my Dad’s a long time doctor… now 80 years old, but with a vast experience and knowledge base on medical and ethical matters of this type. He once told me that 70% of the folks living out there, have some sort of mental illness. Isn’t that some sort of medical ailment that should be treated? Why is it that for so long, the kind of health insurance we establish for ourselves and for others, by way of the laws and regulations we set up thru our politicians, does not cover the long term treatment and maintenance of those who happen to have brain illnesses, that we call mental illness?

    Going with that 70% are mentally ill but not getting treatment theory… there’s still the other 30% to talk about…. and there’s also the reasons behind such the development of such 70% mentally ill living out on street somewhere. Well, once I met a guy in a campground I was camping in down in FL, who told me that there are millions and millions of homeless veterans out there, living on streets somewhere. Why is that? Well, for whatever reason, at times are State Dept. fails in it’s job to make agreements peacefully, and so then our sons and daughters are sent somewhere to secure important lands, such as lands that have lots of oil under them, that we need to keep the cost of our gas low, so that we can drive our funny SUVs and also, heat our homes, in affordable ways. When our State Dept. fails like that, and we end up in wars… well, then an awful lot of those sent over there to fight, come back with injuries, and a lot of those injuries, are brain injuries. So, that’s where a lot of the 70% mentally ill living out on streets, comes from. Should we figure out how to travel around and heat our homes in ways that don’t use oil under far away lands? Makes sense to me. Anybody ever try to drive down Rt. 9 from Toms River southward to Manahawkin lately, during middle of afternoon? We’re talking a major parking lot there, not a road anymore, because it’s so clogged. How about painting the lines on road such that there could be one or two dedicated lanes for buses to travel on, thereby making it more attractive to actually do what our President has told us to do, which is to ride buses and trains more often. Sure, there are some small problems with that idea that would need to be worked out, but heck, we have a lot of retired engineers around this area, who could easily work with towns and counties to show how it could work, with minimal investments needed.

    O.k…. How about the other 30% homeless out there, who aren’t mentally ill? Why are they out there, and should be kick them in their butts… or should we lend a hand? Well, before thinking too hard about them, let’s add into this populace, the other millions of us who are just one or two paychecks away from going belly up, unable to pay mortgage suddenly. Now there’s a fun and big constituency for a smart politician to enjoy talking to and helping out a bit. All those who are just one or two paychecks away from being homeless suddenly, due to layoff or due to a health calamity in their family which requires them to stop working… just to deal with things… should be thought of as “nearly homeless”. Their finances are shaky, they can barely afford rent or mortgage on their homes. They are way under-employed compared to the kinds of experience they have and kinds of education and capabilities. Yet, for reasons beyond their control, they just have not been able to climb back up to a place where they don’t feel anxious all the time, about suddenly having to sell their house… or suddenly have to pack up and move into a van or just punt and give up, ending up in a tent city somewhere, or something.

    So, yes, there are many stories behind each individual homeless person. There are usually, very good reasons why each of them, has to take that risk… to live out there on the streets somewhere. Maybe there’s a few of them, who have been caring for a loved one who has a gradually progressive neurological disease like my wife does, (ALS – Lou Gehrigs disease), over many many years… and while their families and friends have been so helpful and supportive over so many years for them… at some point, they are tired of always having to depend on others, and so, they just want to be able to support themselves, but find that, they can’f land a job in the profession that they used to work in, (eg. mechanical engineering), because the industry trend has offshored that role, to places in the world where folks can be found who will do that role, for 10x cheaper…. (a result of the world being “flat” lately, per Tom Friedman’s famous phrase).

    So yeah, there are lots of reasons for so many being out there, living on the streets day to day, getting by under risky situations, using their wits all the time, just to survive.

    For those with the political power: Just do the right thing. Of course the right thing is along the lines of what all the other counties are doing, which is to establish a good ten year plan, to address and fix this odd problem of homelessness. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of remembering that we are all human, prone to make mistakes, prone to fall at times when economic or social or other kinds of calamatous forces hit us, all connected as children of one God, who ought to care for each other, a bit more then we usually do. Just do the right thing. Set up the committees needed. Find the funding needed. Let’s fix this homeless problem now, not later. What we do for the least, we do for God, seems to me.

  5. boy oh boy- some people just make excuses for anyone. dude, go into the prisons- everyone of those bedbugs have a story- and a victim. yes the working poor that are almost out of a home have to work even harder, sometimes more than 2 jobs- do you think anyone bothers to ask this population if they mind paying more and more and more in taxes for more and more and more benefits to feed water and shelter lazy people, who will not get up off their arses to earn their own way- pull their weight- and when a lot of thiese lazy moochers do have a few dollars- well what do you think ? cigarettes! booze! and all the while the working population is suposed to understand their problems… ENOUGH. i can not tell you how many times i have been victimized by this skeevy population (stealing my property, calling me filthy vile names as i tried to walk past them on my way to WORK)- public urination- on library property- it wasnt enough for this one scum to be using the lovely public yard as a bedroom- no, he actually had the nerve to get up in full view of school children and in very close proximity and whip himself out and urinate! ENOUGH. go to WORK. only than will homelessness end.yes this country is GREAT- always will be GREAT. but people must keep it great by not squatting stealing begging- imagine the sense of entitalment for someone to think that you can squat all day eat screw smoke drink get up any damn time you wish– and then have the good hardworking taxpayer pay their freight! ENOUGH.

  6. boy oh boy- some people just make excuses for anyone. dude, go into the prisons- everyone of those bedbugs have a story- and a victim. yes the working poor that are almost out of a home have to work even harder, sometimes more than 2 jobs- do you think anyone bothers to ask this population if they mind paying more and more and more in taxes for more and more and more benefits to feed water and shelter lazy people, who will not get up off their arses to earn their own way- pull their weight- and when a lot of thiese lazy moochers do have a few dollars- well what do you think ? cigarettes! booze! and all the while the working population is suposed to understand their problems… ENOUGH. i can not tell you how many times i have been victimized by this skeevy population (stealing my property, calling me filthy vile names as i tried to walk past them on my way to WORK)- public urination- on library property- it wasnt enough for this one scum to be using the lovely public yard as a bedroom- no, he actually had the nerve to get up in full view of school children and in very close proximity and whip himself out and urinate! ENOUGH. go to WORK. only than will homelessness end.yes this country is GREAT- always will be GREAT. but people must keep it great by not squatting stealing begging- imagine the sense of entitalment for someone to think that you can squat all day eat screw smoke drink get up any damn time you wish– and then have the good hardworking taxpayer pay their freight! ENOUGH.

  7. WHY CAN YOU NOT PRINT WHAT THEY REALLY ARE? ILLEGAL ALIENS- THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY. OF COURSE THEY DONT QUALIFY FOR OUR TAX PAYER FUNDED PROGRAMS- ITS NOT ENOUGH THAT WE HAVE TO SUPPORT AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO PULL THEIR WEIGHT? THIS IS NOT WHAT WE SHOULD BE SHOWING PEOPLE THAT PRESUMABLY WANT TO LIVE IN THE USA. ONE MUST TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY- PAY FOR WHAT YOU USE- PAY FOR WHAT YOU EAT. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN WEIGHT. DONT EXPECT SOME HARDWORKING SCHMUCK TO PAY YOUR W

  8. WHY CAN YOU NOT PRINT WHAT THEY REALLY ARE? ILLEGAL ALIENS- THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY. OF COURSE THEY DONT QUALIFY FOR OUR TAX PAYER FUNDED PROGRAMS- ITS NOT ENOUGH THAT WE HAVE TO SUPPORT AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO PULL THEIR WEIGHT? THIS IS NOT WHAT WE SHOULD BE SHOWING PEOPLE THAT PRESUMABLY WANT TO LIVE IN THE USA. ONE MUST TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY- PAY FOR WHAT YOU USE- PAY FOR WHAT YOU EAT. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN WEIGHT. DONT EXPECT SOME HARDWORKING SCHMUCK TO PAY YOUR W