photos courtesy of Minster Steve Brigham
Minister Steve Brigham, the founder of Destiny’s Bridge , the non-profit organization that operates the homeless camp in Howell, announced on facebook this morning that the organization is seeking to find alternative housing for residents of the camp for the winter months.
Brigham opened the Howell camp last year with the agreement of the Township. Prior to that, the minister operated Tent City in Lakewood for many years, taking care of as many as 130 homeless people, before Lakewood officials shutdown and demolished the camp while providing temporary rental assistance to 60 residents.
Brigham told MMM that there are currently 13 people living at the camp. His agreement with Howell Township allows him to accommodate 15 people. Nine of the 13 have jobs outside the camp. Additionally, the minister estimates that there are another 40 homeless people living on their own in the woods throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties and that there are several other living in cars parked in shopping malls.
The minister and the other board members of Destiny’s Bridge have decided to seek alternative shelter for the 13 people living at the camp because they fear there will not be enough money to operate the camp throughout the winter. Brigham said that the cost of propane to provide heat is approximately $2000 per month from November through mid-April. Additionally, Howell requires that the camp be insured, which costs about $7000 per year. There are costs for garbage collection, Port-A-Johns, phone, and maintenance for the camp’s two vehicles. He estimates the cost of operating the camp through the winter months would be about $25,000.
Destiny’s Bridge is accepting donations online here or via mail at P.O. Box 692, Lakewood, NJ 08701. Brigham can be reached at 732-364-0340.