When 49-year-old Joe Taylor first set up camp behind a commercial strip in Deptford, New Jersey, he was the only one there. But after seven years, this plot of land has attracted more and more of the area’s homeless, for days, weeks and years at a time.
NJ.com reports on a tent city encampment where, this week, seven of Gloucester County’s homeless have been living. And though the number fluctuates, there have been men living in the area for at least the past seven years.
They’ve battled the elements; freezing in the winter, now stale and stagnant in the summer heat. And recently, Gloucester County Freeholder Vince Nestore and his aide, Pam Ziegler, have been working to help get these men back into a system.
But this group also battles addiction. Years of substance abuse and alcoholism have taken its toll. But with the help of Nestore and Zeigler, these men taking “baby steps” to try to get clean, one of the first steps in getting them reinstated into government assistance programs.
They represent just a handful the 641 adults and children who are reported to be homeless this year in Gloucester County.
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