The City of Modesto Plans to Move 450 Homeless People Away from Beard Brook Park

MODESTO -- Rasheed Webb is just one of nearly 450 people who call Beard Brook Park in Modesto home.

“Even though we are homeless, this is a community,” said Webb.

He says months ago city and Stanislaus county officials rounded up the homeless in the area and moved them into the park.

“We're not all criminals and drug addicts and thieves and whatnot at large,” Webb stated. “Yes, there’s some, there may be some like that in the community but that happens in every community. You know what I’m saying, the majority of us are good, honest people that fell on hard times,” Webb expressed.

Now the city and county are unveiling a new plan to move them again, to another park more than a mile away.

“It's like moving us farther away, almost like an out of sight out of mind thing,” said Webb.

The tent city, which residents call Beard Brook Village, is now home to nearly 450 people, including 17 children.

“We're going to be moving the collection of homeless we have at Beard Brook Park into a larger more stable flatter, dryer area,” said Thomas Reeves, Modesto’s city spokesman.

Reeves says the encampment has outgrown the Beard Brook Park and says the move will actually make it safer and easier for the homeless to get the help they need.

“We will have a trailer out there where we’ll have our county's outreach and engagement team actually located there around the clock, and so we're bringing services to them,” said Reeves.

But still some believe they're being moved because other Modesto residents have complained and say it's because of the stigma attached to homelessness.

Clean up at the park is expected to begin as early as next week if Modesto city council votes to declare a shelter crisis allowing them to apply for state funding. They will also vote on the street team program-- which will allow the city to hire some of the homeless to cleanup downtown Modesto and pay them a stipend.