TOMS RIVER, NJ – Prominent Toms River lawyer Terrance Turnbach, a Democrat serving on the Toms River Township Council wants to build a homeless shelter, a call echoed for decades by many on the left in the town’s history. Turnbach who was a strong supporter of the Code-Blue initiative that gave homeless people in town a place to go during the winter worries about what happened to those homeless individuals now that the weather is warming up.
“While we have worked effectively to make Code Blue a success, it is unequivocally clear that weather conditions can no longer be the barometer for when action is required,” Turnbach said in a recent letter to the editor. “It is time for the homeless in Ocean County to be treated as the humans they are, and to provide a facility year round to help transition the homeless permanently out of the woods.”
Turnbach doesn’t believe building a homeless shelter in Toms River will lead to situations like in San Francisco where streets are filled with tents and homeless residents are often caught urinating and defecating in public spaces.
“Sure, there will be objections to such a proposition. In my limited time on the Toms River Township Council, I have heard many of the fear-mongering arguments against a transitional housing center. I have had elected officials say to me, “you don’t want one here, you will turn Toms River into San Francisco.” he said. “I have been told about “NIMBY”, or “not in my backyard.” I have listened to “leaders” state that our plan in Ocean County for the homeless is a bus ticket to Atlantic City. I have been told that the homeless really don’t want the help. I must say that all of these statements still sound as untrue as the first time I heard them.”
If we can have 15 animal shelters, why not one homeless shelter?
“Tto put things in perspective, think about this: In Ocean County there are at least 15 animal shelters. There are zero places for humans to find shelter. Hypothetically, apply the Code Blue program to animals. Can you imagine the public outrage that would come if at the end of every March we opened all 15 animal shelters and released the animals to the streets,” he said.
Turnbach said now is the time for the homeless to have a home in Toms River.
“The time is now for Toms River to work with this coalition and demonstrate to Ocean County and New Jersey that we lead with compassion and with the courage to make a difference,” he said.