New Jersey town cuts down trees in town square to deter homeless population

A New Jersey township cut down all of the shade trees that once lined its town square in a controversial move designed to prevent homeless people from spending time there.

Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles said the decision was made after a recommendation from the Police Department Quality of Life Unit, 

which the township said was triggered by numerous complaints from residents and township employees about homeless people defecating and urinating in the area.

“They (homeless people) were harassing people, defecating between the cars and residents were complaining,” Coles said.

Claudia Romero, who works in a tax preparation company across from the Town Square, said that one day she found human feces on the sidewalk in front of her office and then submitted a complaint to the township. The township did not say how many complaints it received.

Advocates for those who are unhoused say the move was unnecessary and does nothing to help those in need.