Mar Vista post office neighborhood seeing needles, trash pile up amid growing homeless crisis

MAR VISTA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A growing number of homeless encampments near their neighborhood post office has some Mar Vista residents complaining about health and safety concerns.

"Steer clear of the post office for sure," said Mar Vista resident Elise Varnell.

The parking lot and sidewalks surrounding the U.S. Postal Service office at the corner of Grand View and Venice is speckled with tents, shopping carts and makeshift shelters. Residents say hypodermic needles - both new and used - are literally piling up in some spots.

"They're just scattered everywhere," said Mar Vista business owner Demetrios Mavromichalis. "Why are we seeing these all over town? They're in the post office, they're in the intersections. It's like somebody's dropping boxes of needles off."

Mavromichalis owns several buildings and businesses in Mar Vista and is worried that when it comes to dealing with the homeless, politicians are tone deaf and police officers are hogtied.

"We're screaming for help here and nobody's helping us. Enforce the laws!"

A spokesperson for the Postal Service tells Eyewitness News they only lease part of the parking lot and that there is nothing they can do if the homeless set up camps in other sections of the lot or on public sidewalks.

A representative for Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin says their office is aware of the encampments and is working with the Los Angeles Police Department, the LA Sanitation District and other agencies to mitigate the problem.

Varnell has lived in Mar Vista for five years and says the last few years have seen a dramatic rise in homeless related problems. So much so, that she is worried for her family's safety.

"I used to really like coming over to the restaurants on Grand View and I really no longer want to park here and get out if I'm here at night," she told Eyewitness News. "And it even makes us want to consider moving our kid to a different preschool."
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