HOWELL – Howell Township passed a resolution at its last council meeting to formally sanction what was referred to as “Howell Transitional Camp,” a homeless encampment in town that The Howell Times reported on in February.
At that time, the location of the encampment was being kept a secret, as camp overseer Minister Steve Brigham did not want to upset Howell’s governing body.
Recognizing, or sanctioning it, is a formality in establishing the camp there, in a resolution that passed at the March council meeting.
Speaking at the council meeting, Brigham gave his address as simply Route 9 in Howell, and shared a story from 1775 where American colonists, learning they had been fired upon by the British, marched through the night and refused to let the British leave Boston for a year.
Those American colonists were standing up for what they felt was right, just like Minister Brigham and his fellow camp residents are doing inside their tents, out in the woods. Even though most people who live in the camp work, they are still unable to find affordable housing in the area.
“I believe that we as individuals, as citizens of America, we need to stand up for issues that are important,” said Brigham.
He expressed his gratitude to the council for helping poor and downtrodden people in the town exercise a basic, American need—a place to lay their head.
“I want to thank this board tremendously,” said Brigham. “We have an encampment here that is not using any tax dollars from this township or from anywhere to exist—just our basic human needs are being met there—which is more than would be happening other places in this state and in this country.”
In other news, the council discussed an affordable housing plan in preparation for a meeting and public hearing on the topic on April 6.
Because of the Fair Housing Act, Howell needs to meet a specific quota of housing for low and moderate income families, which is determined by the state.
Howell council members and residents will find out at the hearing where developers want to build these inclusionary sites and what they might look like.
If developers are rejected and decide to sue, it could cost at least $500,000 to fight those lawsuits, officials said.