This morning, after studying the legal briefs and the sworn statements of the homeless, and after hearing oral argument from counsel, the Court denied Lakewood's motion for a court order allowing it to shut down Tent City. Among other things, the Hon. Joseph L. Foster agreed with the homeless that in light of years of condoning Tent City -- including instances of Lakewood's police bringing homeless to Tent City -- Lakewood had not established its right to the summary judgment and court order it wanted today. Moreover, in rendering his decision and denying Lakewood's motion, the Court made an important statement: that the government has a responsibility to the poor. This, in one sentence, is the heart of our legal position.
Much still lies ahead in the litigation. However, this ruling against Lakewood removes, at least for now, the sword that has been hanging over the heads of the community in Tent City. Lakewood and Ocean County will now proceed with us to select and meet with a professional mediator to explore whether further litigation can be avoided. If not, we stand ready to continue fighting for the homeless -- and, if necessary, take their claims against Lakewood and the County to trial, along with the claims of the Atlantic City Rescue Mission for approximately $2 million in money damages. Hopefully, however, we can all work together to solve the underlying problem. Either way, today was a great day for the homeless.