October 22, 2021

Stamp Pets

Snap Into A Slim Pets

Camden homeless encampment is cleared, but its residents’ futures are murky

Tom Peculski, a volunteer with Helping Hands Homeless Outreach Program pets one of several cats at an encampment Monday, July 26, 2021 in Camden, N.J.

CAMDEN — Cars speed north and south on I-676, most of the occupants not thinking much about the city below, its problems, its challenges, its people.

The city in question, though, is not Camden. It’s a small city of homeless people living under the interstate — as many as 30 people at a given time under the massive pilings that support the highway, and more tucked into the wooded areas along 676 and railroad tracks that run parallel to it.

On Monday morning, Tom Peculski, a volunteer with Helping Hands Homeless Outreach Program, clambered over the guardrails, calling out to those in tents in the growth and navigating a narrow dirt path down toward the area under the highway.

“Hello!” he called. “Outreach, coming in!”

More:Camden officials address quality of life in troubled neighborhood