Sherman Oaks small business owners contend with homeless issue; advocates call for cooperation

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Saturday, July 2, 2022
Business owners contend with homeless issue on Ventura Boulevard
Frustrated business owners have reached out to their councilmember for help. Advocates for the homeless say people need to work together to find the best solutions.

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Frustrated business owners in Sherman Oaks have been contending with the issue of homeless people camping outside their establishments, and have reached out to their councilmember for help. Advocates for the homeless say people need to work together.

Homeless individuals were again camped out in front of a business on Van Nuys Boulevard on Friday morning, prompting complaints from some proprietors 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 wrappers," said Steven Hix, who owns Pauline's Human Hair.

"Customers complain about safety: 'Is it OK?' 'Yes, it's OK, I'll walk you out to your car.'"

On Tuesday, ABC7 reported that the owner of Dragonfly cycling, Jessica Lewis, captured a vehicle break-in on surveillance. There were also homeless people camping out on her front door. In separate footage, a homeless man was seen defecating and walking away. While an ABC7 reporter was at the business, a man went inside and began harassing customers.

Sherman Oaks business owner frustrated over incidents involving homeless population

A Sherman Oaks business owner is pleading for help after a wave of incidents involving the local homeless population.

City crews were supposed to go the area on Friday to clean up the sidewalks, but Lewis said the Department of Sanitation cancelled because it was backlogged.

"Clean the urine off the streets, make this look and smell and feel a little bit better," said Lewis.

"Anyone that has a heart would feel for her she's trying to run her business," says Ken Craft, the CEO of Hope of the Valley. The nonprofit's mission is to "prevent, reduce and eliminate poverty, hunger and homelessness," according to its website.

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

"We all have to work together to create solutions to bring people off the streets streets so we can stabilize him and then if people refuse to come in off the street then there must be enforcement," Craft said.

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

"Where is that HHH money money and how much is there and why are they talking about it why hasn't there been an accounting?" asked Mike Korba, who was walking past the affected businesses on Friday.

Kraft agreed, saying: "We must show the community and the residence they were making progress if we don't then the likelihood of getting a renewal bond to continue the funding it's going to be in jeopardy."