Sacramento homeless crisis has small business feeling burned out

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SACRAMENTO — A small business owner feels fed up and forgotten by the City of Sacramento’s handling of a homeless encampment next to his midtown auto shop and wants to see a solution fast.

A-1 Auto Repair opened near Yale Street, between 21st and 20th Streets, in 2011. According to Ron, the shop’s owner, business changed two weeks ago as a homeless encampment has been “getting worse” on the sidewalk outside.

The site has tents, tarps, chairs, and belongings lining the sidewalk, and, at times, trash and other items have spread onto his property, Ron told CBS13. This, however, is not his main worry: “It’s safety.”

He said there are fires lit within the encampment and he has witnessed open-air drug use in the middle of the day.

“I feel like it’s really dangerous and could hurt my business,” Ron said.

Across the street, LAB 7 Coworking has a view of the tents and tarps setup. The manager there told CBS13 the main concern is “safety for everybody,” not just the community, but even those living unhoused on Yale Street.

There are signs of drug use in the area, like used needles in the alleyway off 21st Street. It’s an issue that everyone we spoke with said they considered to be a result of failed policies, or lack thereof, by the City of Sacramento.

The latest data from May 6-12 provided to the public by the City of Sacramento shows there were 711 calls to the city related to homeless issues. Of those calls, 682 calls were closed, which means they were either solved or, when the problem was inspected, it was no longer an issue.

“When we report things, we expect to see action and that’s not happening here,” said Stephanie Duncan, a Land Park advocate who told CBS13 that she, too, has reported the encampment.

Duncan said she feels as though the city’s leadership has failed to implement solutions that would solve or, at the very least, help neighborhoods that report encampment concerns to the city by calling 311.

The most-stated solution is more housing, but Ron said that at this point, he wants acknowledgment from city officials that they have received his request and are responding.

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