A New Jersey township is facing criticism after trees were cut down in its town square to prevent homeless people from gathering in the shade.
Trees in Lakewood Township’s town square, also known as Red Square, were cut from the ground earlier this month, Local news outlet The Lakewood Scoop reported those days. But the story attracted renewed attention after Asbury Park Press covered the situation This week.
Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles told APP that the township had decided to get rid of the trees because of an unspecified number of complaints about homeless people who “disturb” others in the square, as well as human excreta. There is also presence. According to Coles, the Police Department’s “Quality of Life Unit” recommended that townships cut down trees.
The story went viral on Twitter this week, with many condemning the decision and noting that in addition to not helping the homeless, it also made the class worse for anyone else who enjoyed the shade.
The Rev. Steve Brigham, a lawyer for non-domestic who runs Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church, called the decision cruel and unhelpful.
“These trees were over forty years old, and provided shade to the poor and homeless who came there to seek relief and socialize with their neighbours,” says Brigham wrote on facebook Trees were cut down shortly after and a video showing the barren square was also shown. He posted additional video two days later More trees being cleared At a public parking lot across the street from the square.
Brigham also accused the township of repeatedly taking away resources used by the homeless, including demolishing a community center that people previously used to rain.
Coles defended the decision, suggesting that homeless people apply for it Section 8 Vouchers, which help low-income people afford housing. But Richard Uniacke, president of the nonprofit Bridge Outreach, told APP that applying for those vouchers “isn’t an easy lift” and many people don’t have the necessary documents.