A New Jersey township is going through criticism after reducing down the bushes in its city sq. to forestall homeless individuals from congregating within the shade.
The bushes in Lakewood Township’s city sq., also referred to as Crimson Sq., had been chopped to the bottom earlier this month, local news outlet The Lakewood Scoop reported on the time. However the story gained renewed consideration after the Asbury Park Press covered the situation this week.
Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles informed the APP that the township determined to eliminate the bushes resulting from an unspecified variety of complaints about homeless individuals “harassing” others within the sq., in addition to the presence of human feces. The police division’s “High quality of Life Unit” then advisable that the township chop down the bushes, in keeping with Coles.
The story went viral on Twitter this week, with many individuals condemning the choice and likewise observing that along with not serving to homeless individuals, it additionally made the sq. worse for anybody else who loved shade.
Rev. Steve Brigham, an advocate for unhoused individuals who runs Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church, blasted the choice as merciless and unhelpful.
“These bushes had been over forty years previous, and supplied shade to the poor and homeless that may come there to search out respite and to socialize with their neighbors,” Brigham wrote on Facebook shortly after the bushes had been reduce alongside a video displaying the barren sq.. He posted further video two days later of more trees being cleared at a public parking zone throughout the road from the sq..
Brigham additionally accused the township of repeatedly taking away assets that homeless individuals used, together with by demolishing a neighborhood heart that individuals beforehand used for showers.
Coles defended the choice, suggesting that homeless individuals apply for Section 8 vouchers, which assist individuals with low incomes afford housing. However Richard Uniacke, president of the nonprofit Bridges Outreach, famous to the APP that making use of for these vouchers is “not a straightforward carry” and that many individuals don’t have the required paperwork.