Tent City

2014 ,    »  -   13 Comments
416
8.58
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Ratings: 8.58/10 from 102 users.
Storyline
Tent City

This documentary takes viewers inside one of the largest tent cities in the country. Profiling several members of the tent community and calling into question societal attitudes towards homelessness, Tent City provides a humanizing perspective on the plight of those living nomadically in an elaborate homeless community within the woods of Lakewood, NJ.

The Lakewood compound is an impressive feat of organization and cooperation. Tents range from slap-dash lean-tos to elaborate, personalized shelters. Camp amenities include showers, numerous grills, stoves, picnic tables, a piano, domestic pets and chickens. One resident even administers a web page dedicated to the Lakewood community, working from a laptop set up within a small trailer on-site. It is common for local restaurants and warehouses to donate food supplies that are too close to their expiry date to sell, but still fresh enough to consume.

The community itself is comprised of people from all walks of life - some with mental health issues or addictions, others who are just trying to make a living in a world they've been priced out of. Residents include artists, veterans and even a minister. New arrivals are accepted with no questions asked. Those who need a place to stay are welcome in tent city where the fundamental rule is "respect your neighbors."

The residents of the Lakewood camp are aware of the way they are perceived by outsiders. One interviewee cites the common "Get a job!" rejoinder lobbed at the homeless. But, as he explains, most Lakewood residents work full time jobs and still can't afford a traditional living situation. The same interview subject works the night shift at a local drug store, claiming he makes too little to buy or rent, yet too much to qualify for government assistance outside of food stamps (a benefit that totals less than $50/month). Despite the considerable amount of work and coordination devoted to running the Lakewood tent city, the external world continues to view it's inhabitants as a nuisance.

Tent City shares a heartening perspective of life outside of traditional home comforts, exposing the realities of homelessness beyond the stereotypes and rampant misconceptions towards the working poor.

13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. TheDanishViking

    Interesting doc. Two comments:
    1) I am always impressed by the attitude of people at the bottom of the American society - they seem to have a strong spirit in spite of all. People living at the bottom of European societies would probably do a lot more complaining if they were interviewed in a similar situation.

    2) Another thing - from what I can understand the mayor/minister of Tent city is criticizing the American Jews for basically cheating with public funds and thus obtaining the houses in the area and being partly responsible for people having to live in the woods? That is a strong statement!?

  2. Jane Tow

    That's when I remembered they were interviewing street peo-ple. They have a lot of crazy ideas. A lot are conspiracy theorists and that is why they choose to live off the grid,.

  3. Norm_de_Plume

    Tim at 15min-odd — a true hero, legend etc. ALL those superlatives.

  4. Vera Gottlieb

    What an extremely poor reflection on the 'greatest nation on Earth'. Yeah...

  5. Eric Lawson

    I was really surprised at the older couple with their music and art they were the most attractive couple. I was glad to see how they ended up at the end with a nice home good food and wonderful spirits. I wondered where their children were.Great doc.The minister is one in a million.Peace!!

  6. bringmeredwine

    I really enjoyed seeing this doc.
    Amazing to think that this homeless community reached out to the poor people of Lakewood and provided them with clothing and food.
    Tent City had it's problems, namely having to carry the lazy slobs, trying to care for the mentally ill, and sheltering untreated addicts. But this unique place also housed some really wonderful community members, be they unemployed or hard-working. There were generous, intelligent, and artistic individuals, who'd give you the shirt off their backs.
    I wish the deserving ones all the best, but things don't look so good.

  7. bringmeredwine

    Michael and Marilyn. I'd adopt them. I agree that they are adorable and might I add, quite eccentric.
    Their daughter threw away the possessions they'd entrusted her with when they moved to Tent City. (nice!) They haven't talked to her since.
    I found it so ironic that they are vegans and don't eat all those eggs. I hope they give some away!

  8. Richard Neva

    But for the grace of God go I. Living as a retired on a fixed income makes it rough, real rough. Each month I go further into a hole and it is only a matter of time until I wind up in a tent city somewhere.

  9. Horst Manure

    Look at trading CFD's get on U Tube ..look at Oanda and inthe moneystocks for more info good luck.

  10. Horst Manure

    In a country were Apple is at present the worlds biggest company and worth more than the all the Russian companies together...????

  11. sewingdiscontent

    My theory is that they were hoarders, both of stuff and animals. Their daughter was probably left to deal with their hoard. They were so angry at her for throwing out their precious belongings, but it was probably an industrial dumpster full of bird crap covered junk.

  12. Julien

    All of the people here have talent; all they have to do is put their heads together and sell an intentional community on donation for travelers. They can show people how to paint, play the piano, someone can do yoga...and they already have a web designer....invite tourists who would ordinarily stay at hostels.

  13. Sixlo

    Do a search on "Hoovervilles" for a better idea of how history repeats.
    The American "social contract" is written on toilet paper.

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