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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Tent City Residents Get A Reprieve

• CBS3.com
Homeless people who built a community of campground tents just a few blocks from downtown Camden got a reprieve Thursday, allowing them to remain, at least for now, at the self-governing settlement in one of the nation's poorest cities.

Both the residents and social service agencies were nervous about Thursday's deadline from a Camden County official to shut down the community. They feared adequate housing would not be found by the deadline, forcing the 30 or so remaining homeless people to move out of a relatively safe environment and into the streets.

Gino Lewis, the official who wanted to close the enclave, arrived there Thursday morning to tell community founder Lorenzo "Jamaica" Banks that Tent City would not be closed yet -- and that efforts would continue to find housing.

Lewis says that the residents have formed a real community over the years. But he said the settlement, wedged in the woods between a highway off-ramp and train tracks, is unsafe and unsanitary.

"They've done a great job," Lewis said. "The problem is, right now we need to take the next step for them and help them."

But he won't force them out now.

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