Homeless people who built a community of campground tents just a few blocks from downtown Camden got a reprieve Thursday, allowing them to remain, at least for now, at the self-governing settlement in one of the nation's poorest cities.
Both the residents and social service agencies were nervous about Thursday's deadline from a Camden County official to shut down the community. They feared adequate housing would not be found by the deadline, forcing the 30 or so remaining homeless people to move out of a relatively safe environment and into the streets.
One has to wonder if city and state governments' response will ultimately be the establishment of Dickens-esque "work houses" where the poor and homeless will ultimately wind up doing slave labor for the "privilege" of having a place to sleep.
The growing criminalization of poverty by so many states indicates that such a possibility is not all so far-fetched.