Turlock Gospel Mission opens doors wider as city clears park of homeless belongings

City clears Broadway Park of homeless residents property in Turlock

Fire and police use code enforcement to remove property from the city park.
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Fire and police use code enforcement to remove property from the city park.

The Turlock Gospel Mission is adding shelter space for at least five days in response to the clearing of homeless people’s belongings from Broadway Park.

The nonprofit’s Day Center will house and feed up to about 60 men, women and children from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. into Sunday, development officer Jacquelyne Reece said by email Wednesday. “It is our hope to provide a place for those individuals experiencing homelessness to go as the city of Turlock clears Broadway park,” she said.

The operators in the meantime will discuss what might happen next.

The shelter at 432 S. Broadway is eight blocks from the park on the same street. The city last week posted notices that personal belongings had to be removed by 3:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Officials are trying to deal with complaints from the public while complying with a recent federal court ruling that limited anti-camping rules in Turlock and elsewhere.

“The purpose of the enforcement was not to remove people from Broadway Park, but to remove property from the city park in accordance with the Turlock Municipal Code,” a city news release said.

The Neighborhood Services Division of the Turlock Fire Department enforced the order with help from city police and park employees. They said they have arranged with social service providers to help the affected people, including temporary storage of belongings at the Gospel Mission. Items left behind at the park can be claimed at the Fire Department.

“They have had a week’s notice, and our code enforcement officers have been working with them and notifying them what needs to be done,” fire Capt. Kevin Tidwell said at the park Tuesday.

The Gospel Mission has a year-round overnight shelter for women and children and the Day Center for all comers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

Homeless men also can stay at the nearby We Care shelter..

At least 30 people started staying at Broadway Park after being evicted from a homeless camp under the South Golden State Boulevard overpass south of downtown.

Modesto Bee photographer Andy Alfaro contributed to this report.