According to a story reported on by iBerkshires.com, the Parks and Recreation Department is seeing an influx of homeless encampments popping up in parks throughout Pittsfield.

Parks and Open Space Manager James McGrath had this to say. "This is an ongoing conversation, it is a very delicate one, and it is one that requires a team approach. We stand ready to assist, evaluate, and continue to have conversations around this unprecedented  situation."

Earlier this month, a temporary shelter at the former St. Joseph's High School set up by the city in conjunction with ServiceNet, had to shut down after running out of funds.

Commissioner Joe Durwin said although encampments can be found in many city parks at this time, the largest gathering seems to be at Springside.

Durwin said he spoke to some of the homeless and they feared that their belongings would be thrown away if left unattended. Durwin added that the city has asked police to not evict the homeless or remove their belongings and asked McGrath about the Parks Department's position.

McGrath said the plan is to follow the city's lead and the Public Services Department's parks division is taking a "hands-off approach."

Parks Commission member Simon Muil said he was concerned about the aftermath of the park's encampments and wanted to know if there was a cleanup plan in place.
McGrath said, "We are talking about standing by and being ready. We want to make sure certain plans are in place to deal with this quickly and safely."
Commissioner Durwin added that during a recent cleanup of Springside Park it was noted that the park was cleaner than ever.
For much more on this story, visit their website at iBerkshires.com and we thank them for the report.