Homeless Can Return to Modesto’s Beard Brook Park

MODESTO -- Near "no camping" signs Wednesday were some homeless who call the banks and shores of Modesto's Dry Creek home.

Josh House calls it the last resort.

"It’s not pretty. It’s hard," he said.

Just months ago, House says Modesto police officers asked everyone to leave the long closed down Beard Brook Park.

"I was feeling confused because it’s like you can’t stay here, you can’t stay there, where do I stay?" House said.

Forced out, most people, like James Pack, have made their way to nearby parks.

But their housing situation will soon change. A police department spokeswoman says the city will reopen the park to the homeless.

"I like it," Pack said. "At least everybody could go to a place where they could go to and they won’t have to worry about being harassed no more."

A federal appeals court ruled it was unlawful to cite people for sleeping on public property when there are no other housing options.

Currently, there are more people on the streets than shelters in Stanislaus County.

Bruce Dow, who helps provide daily meals to the homeless, says he’s all for it.

"I think it’s going to be good because a lot of the people down here they’ve been here for a long time and they get pushed out to another park," Dow told FOX40.

One homeless man FOX40 spoke to says this is a start but they’ll need more to feel like the park is a humane place to stay, such as bathrooms. The spokeswoman says portable bathrooms, security and sanitation will be provided.

Officials call it a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.

"I don’t know if Modesto really has a permanent solution," House said. "I don’t know if any of us have a permanent solution because half of it is people out here on their own will."

The spokeswoman says the police department will still enforce camping ordinances on public and private property. They are working with organizations, the county and other agencies to find permanent housing.

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