Hoboken Shanty Town

Should something be done about Hoboken Shanty Town?

Update: I’ve always wondered why the city of Hoboken had a relaxed view about the “homes on the hill” that many people in town refer to as the homeless shanty town.

Homeless shanty towns in Hoboken NJ

Located on the “cliff” on the western edge of north Hoboken, homeless people have set up various mini villages there for a long time.

As you can see by the ever-growing pile of garbage accumulating on hill, it’s quite “unappealing” to the eye. And judging by the type of garbage (those blue plastic shopping bags), it appears that most of that refuse came from a liquor store. Maybe I should add this location to the Hoboken BYOB places?

Hoboken Shanty Town Slobs cliffs 1

What would you do about the shanty town?

You can look at this two ways. One, they’re homeless for God’s sake – they have no home! They’re sort of “out of the way” up there, and as long as they don’t get hit by a train or abduct some unknowing child, perhaps we should leave them alone. Maybe the least we could do is ask them to keep their house in order?

On the other hand – we do have the Hoboken Homeless Shelter which they could use (unless they were “banned”), and as you can see from the video – shanty towns like this can and will burst into flames as they get drunk and carelessly dispose of their cigarette butts, etc.

Does it really matter? Or would the city benefit if this area was cleaned up? Either way – as the spring blossoms, the trees will bloom and all of this will be out of sight soon enough.

Hoboken Shanty Town: Elaborate shacks rivaling some apartments

2/6/2007:

Hoboken411 reader Ryan thought this might be interesting to read. While riding the Light Rail, he mentioned seeing quite a few of these elaborate “shacks” that have been setup on the cliffs by local Hoboken homeless individuals.

Most Hoboken residents have seen these “hillside condos”, but has anyone actually seen what it’s like inside? If anyone would be interested in doing an “exposé” on what it’s like to live there, please feel free to use my great ideas! I’d consider crossing the tracks to see what it’s like, but would be nice if a group of volunteers came with me.

Regardless, it must be tough, especially in this cold weather. Some of the shacks actually had smoke coming out, as if they were building a fire. I know at one point in the last couple years, there was a pretty big fire in ‘dem hills.

Ryan adds: “Reminded me a little of the Ewok village from Star Wars. These are not your standard cardboard box temporary shelters, but it looks like they have been there for some time. Come to think of it these homes are probably better than my apartment!”

These photos were taken on the west side of Hoboken between 12th and 14th Streets.

shanty-area-blue-roof-3cs.jpg
shanty-area-condos-4-light-railcs.jpg
shanty-area-condos-2cs.jpg
shanty-area-condos-3cs.jpg
shanty-area-back-of-warehouse-towards-shopritecs.jpg
shanty-area-abandoned-warehousecs.jpg
shanty-area-abandonded-warehouse-3-grafittics.jpg
shanty-area-yardley-abovecs.jpg

71 Responses

  1. nihil72 says:

    I’m converted! The homeless did it to themselves with their slacker attitude and their essential shiftlessness. Let’s round ’em all up, put ’em in boxcars, and sink ’em in the Long Island Sound. In time they will begin to form artificial reefs and will finally give something back to the society from which they have taken so much.

  2. beamrider9 says:

    [quote comment=”12981″]I asked for your solution…[/quote]

    To which I responded that I don’t have a solution, nor do I think any one person can reasonably claim to.

    [quote comment=”12981″]You’ve rebuttal to my points consist of your feelings that my points are incorrect based upon no point…[/quote]

    I didn’t know you could dismiss someone by simply saying they have no point. Neat trick.

  3. SFH says:

    There are many resources available to help the homeless. That said, when you think about it, homelessness will never be eradicated in our society. Many homeless people are drug addicts, acoholics, or mentally ill. When deinstitutionalization was launched in the 60s and 70s, many people who lived for years in mental hospitals were released into society. The mostly naive assumption was that they would go to the local free clinics on a regular basis and get their meds and take them religiously. Many times it didn’t work that way. A good number of them had no familial support and never lived independently during their adult lives and thus ended up in the streets. Now the attitude is if a person is mentally ill and considered harmless, s/he is left alone. So what is the answer? Do we round them up and once again put them in mental hospitals? It is a free country and we all have free will. As for the addicted–only they can make the decision to go into rehab and clean up their acts.
    Then there are those who are homeless because they fell on hard times due to illness and/or job loss. These people are the ones who, IMO, are the most motivated to change their situations and get back on their feet. With proper support, they will do so.
    I’m reminded of a story I read about a homeless woman in DC named Mary. She stood on the same street corner everyday wearing no clothes, just wrapped in a blanket. Three women who worked in a nearby office took pity on her and decided to try and help. They convinced a women’s homeless shelter to take in Mary. Mary said she wanted help. The three women patted themselves on the back, pleased that they got Mary some help. Well…3 months later who did they see on the corner wrapped in a blanket? Yup–it was Mary.
    If you want to help the homeless, donate money and goods to shelters and food banks. In many cases the homeless who panhandle will use the money for alcohol and/or drugs. Case in point–once I heard of a women who gave a panhandling homeless man a bag of groceries. Later that day she passed the spot where he was begging. He was gone but the groceries were still there!

  4. wgenese says:

    I’ve have some friends that have been and still are homeless. A good friend of mine that played bass in a band that I was in wound up homeless. He stayed at St. Lucy’s in downtown JC. He was addicted to opiates. He overdosed some time ago. Matt was a good kid but definitely had some issues. Another guy, Tippy, died from exposure three years ago. I didn’t know Tippy that well, he was a couple years older, but I know many who were close to him. Everyone had nothing but good things to say about him. Let’s see, another friend I would let sleep in the back seat of my car on certain occasions one winter. He couldn’t always get into a shelter. He was a dope fiend. He’s off the streets now. Another close friend is in a shelter in NYC across from the Port Authority. Opiate addict. There are others but I think I made my point.

    Something about these back and fourths apropos the homeless that really surprises me is that there is no mention of mental illness. You all know that, along with alcohol and drug addiction, a large percentage of the homeless suffers from mental illness. I’ve been to just about every shelter in the vicinity (no, not as a resident Emarche:mrgreen:) and one of the problems that I see is that the demographic that suffers from mental illness isn’t usually ready, willing and able to improve their situation. In most cases this stems from the fact that they are mentally ill and are therefore not capable of making rational decisions. It’s often not apathy and choice. Well, I guess if one wants to call it choice it’s analogues to trying to rationalize with a child what is best for them.

    My wife has worked in a few area hospitals and that along with attaining her BS in nursing has exposed her, in good detail, to the sociology of the homeless. She also knows some that she grew up with in the Heights that are out there. We both agree that New York has better services than New Jersey for the addict looking for help but I think both states are lacking when dealing with mental illness. It’s difficult trying to help someone that doesn’t believe that they need help. It’s impossible to make sure that the mentally ill stay on their medication.

    I think that another approach is needed. Shelters turn the homeless population back out onto the streets for the majority of the day. If the government would make a serious effort at cracking down on all the filthy parasites taking advantage of our social services maybe there would be monies available to provide a more monitored approach to helping the mentally ill homeless population. Just one mans opinion…

  5. wgenese says:

    By the way, well said SFH.

  6. MidnightRacer says:

    beamrider, I just read through some of the posts again, as well as SFH’s and wgenese’s.

    It seems as though I might have misunderstood some of your (beamrider) replies. What I thought to be attacks against me were a bit less than what I perceived. And so I was a bit snarky in my follow up. For that, I apologize. Perhaps I should control that kind of reaction better in the future.

    Yeah, I took what wgenese said to heart – regarding the fact that you cannot persuade someone who is mentally ill to choose to get help, nor take their meds. Salient. Wgenese for sure pointed out something that needs to be done to get out into the streets and find these people, who are unaware of their condition, to get help. Some kind of outreach, that instead of providing a place for them to go to, actually go out and find them and offer help.

  7. SFH says:

    Thanks, wgenese. And thanks for reiterating that many homeless people are mentally ill. When it was determined that many people in mental hospitals could be released and live on their own, governments did a 180 and released many people without providing proper outpatient support. IMO, the answer lies somewhere in between. Some mentally ill people do need longterm-even lifelong-hospitalization. I had a mentally ill relative who was in and out of the hospital. Same cycle–he would be hospitalized, put on meds, released, told to take his meds. Once out of the hospital, he would decide he didn’t need his meds so once again back to the hospital. His family did what they could but he was an adult. Eventually, he committed suicide. To this day I think that if he were just hospitalized, he would still be around. So-there has to be a better solution…

  8. wgenese says:

    [quote comment=”13240″]I had a mentally ill relative who was in and out of the hospital. Same cycle–he would be hospitalized, put on meds, released, told to take his meds. Once out of the hospital, he would decide he didn’t need his meds so once again back to the hospital. His family did what they could but he was an adult. Eventually, he committed suicide.[/quote]
    Ditto on all of that, except my family member attempted a couple of time but never commited suicide.

    • ucpa says:

      I know this post it pretty old but I just want to say something about this community in particular. Most of the people (and I say most, not all) who live on the cliff where we see the pics above, these individuals are not homeless. They live there cause they choose to live there, with all the difficulties of living without heating or hot water. Of course, this also involves the alcohol addiction, but not the metal illness. [quote comment=”13244″]Ditto on all of that, except my family member attempted a couple of time but never commited suicide.[/quote]

      • animal_lover says:

        Did you know alcoholism is a common for of self-medicating. You see alot of alcoholism in a family, it is a very good chance of mental illness, ex depression, anxiety.

        I thought I knew a good amount on mental health but not until is hits close to you do you come to understand it more.

        If you have not read WGENESE you should. He explains the trials of the mentally ill well.

        Unfortunately in our society mental illness is not considered on par with any other bodily disease. One of the biggest problems in diseases that depression often accompanies is the problem depression causes in the ability to take drugs as prescribed.

        What is really disgusting is the Fed/state programs that our taxes pay for – and are supposed to provide a benefit whether physically or mentally disabled – disqualify applicants with mental health problems because the professional training of the case worker is extremely limited in mental health.

        [quote comment=”212710″]I know this post it pretty old but I just want to say something about this community in particular. Most of the people (and I say most, not all) who live on the cliff where we see the pics above, these individuals are not homeless. They live there cause they choose to live there, with all the difficulties of living without heating or hot water. Of course, this also involves the alcohol addiction, but not the metal illness.[/quote]

  9. animal_lover says:

    Yes I have always imagined what realtors sales pitch would be. A commenter who wrote 411 suggested that there are million dollar homes near the tracks and below the water table. It’s exactly the type of environment that entrepreneurial squatters scout out and build a comfortable community.

Leave a Reply