Small business owners in Sherman Oaks face homelessness; defenders call for cooperation

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SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Frustrated business owners in Sherman Oaks have been faced with the issue of homeless people camping outside their establishments and have reached out to their council member for help. Homeless advocates say people need to work together.

Homeless people camped outside a business on Van Nuys Boulevard again on Friday morning, prompting complaints from some property owners along a stretch near Ventura Boulevard.

“When I show up here, they’re right in front of my business with just dirt and smell and leftover food and packaging,” said Steven Hix, owner of Pauline’s Human Hair.

“Customers complain about security: ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Yes, that’s fine, I’ll walk you to your car.'”

On Tuesday, ABC7 reported that Dragonfly cycling owner Jessica Lewis captured a watched vehicle break-in. There were also homeless people camping outside his front door. In separate footage, a homeless man was seen defecating and walking away. While an ABC7 reporter was in the business, a man walked in and started harassing customers.

Sherman Oaks business owner frustrated by incidents involving homeless people

City crews were supposed to be in the area on Friday to clear sidewalks, but Lewis said the Sanitation Department canceled because he was running late.

“Clean the urine off the streets, make it look, smell and smell a little better,” Lewis said.

“Anyone with a heart would feel for her trying to run her business,” said Ken Craft, CEO of Hope of the Valley. The nonprofit’s mission is to “prevent, reduce, and end poverty, hunger, and homelessness,” according to its website.

In an interview with ABC7, Craft said there had to be a solution that helps homeless people, businesses and residents.

“We all need to work together to create solutions to get people off the streets so we can stabilize it, and then if people refuse to come off the streets there has to be enforcement,” Craft said.

Some local residents ABC7 spoke to asked about the affordable housing that was to be built.

“Where is this HHH money and how much is it and why are they talking about it, why was there no accounting?” asked Mike Korba, who was passing the businesses concerned on Friday.

Kraft agreed, stating, “We need to show the community and the residence that they are making progress if we don’t, then the likelihood of getting a renewal bond to continue funding will be in jeopardy.”

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