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Court Blocks Lakewood From Tearing Down Tent City

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Lakewood Tent City

Lakewood Tent City (credit: CBS 2)

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LAKEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The City of Lakewood wanted the court to allow them to shut down and bulldoze a tent city.

Almost 75 homeless people took to the woods of Lakewood, living in makeshift shacks and tents.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney spoke with the tent city’s attorney, Jeffrey Wild.

“The judge denied that motion and agreed with the arguments of the homeless saying the government has a responsibility to help the poor like these desperate people living in the woods,” he said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

Wild said he was hoping to start meetings with Lakewood and county officials within the month to solve the problem.

The homeless also want Ocean County to open an emergency shelter instead of paying for some motel rooms.

“Right now they’re putting up people in $100 a night motel rooms, which makes absolutely no sense,” Wild added.

Last summer, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan spoke with several residents of the tent city.

“In a way, it’s like living a simple life,” said Michael Berenzweig, who ended up there with his wife Marilyn when she lost her job as a textile designer.

“It was very traumatizing. It isn’t only me — all my friends are out of work just as well in the industry,” she said. “Don’t feel sorry for us. We enjoy this. It is hard, but it’s not something we can do for the rest of our lives,” she said.

Marilyn told Sloan that they tried living with her daughter, but couldn’t make it work.

“It was really hard. We tried,” Marilyn said. “It was mutual. It really was a tiny house.”

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