MODESTO (CBS13) — Just as the rain began moving in Tuesday, people began moving out of a temporary outdoor homeless shelter in Modesto.
The Salvation Army opened a new 182-bed extension of their indoor shelter on Tuesday.
Jack Eldridge and his dog Nick are among the very first group to move into the new indoor shelter at the Salvation army.
“I can’t wait to lay in my bed. Nice warm bed,” Eldridge said.
Eldridge has lived at the Modesto Outdoor Emergency Shelter (MOES) for close to a year.
“I was out at the river first, then Bearbrook, then I went to MOES,” he said.
He works as a foreman for the downtown streets team, cleaning up Modesto in exchange for gift cards.
“I’m going to better my life, and my boss said it’s the next step to get housing,” Eldridge said.
He was right. Eldridge and his team were among the first 52 people to pack up and move into the new shelter.
“We opened the shelter under the 9th Street bridge as a temporary solution and now is the time for the temporary shelter to close,” Modesto City Spokesperson Thomas Reeves said.
Over the next few weeks, those who have pre-registered with the Salvation Army will transition into the new space. But not everyone is as excited to leave the tent city they’ve called home since February.
Bren Martinez says she doesn’t want to move from a personal tent to a shared space full of bunk beds.
“My uncle was murdered at a shelter in the Bay Area so that’s one of my fears I guess you could say,” Martinez said. “There’s no privacy, no personal space. There’s no breathing room.”
She’s not alone. Virginia Van Pelt said, “I just don’t want to have to be locked up to live again…. and to me, that’s what they’re doing.”
But for Eldridge, he sees it as a temporary step in the right direction.
“Better my life, get a house, a job and take care of me and my dog,” Eldridge said.
The city of Modesto says everyone has to be out of the outdoor shelter by Dec. 11. That will allow crews to restore the property and turn it back over to the Tuolumne River Trust in the new few months.