LA's Mayor and council have promised 100 million dollars to help the homeless find housing and get services. But, there are businesses, like those along Van Nuys Boulevard, that say they need help with the homeless tents popping up behind their businesses in the alley.
Photographer Ken Moore and I walked into an alley behind those businesses to see the problem first hand.
Immediately, a man whose sentences were peppered with foul and angry language started screaming at Moore and myself. “You move us from here we’ll move somewhere else… in your city," he screamed. A few angry words later he says “One day your kids might be out here.”
It is that very anger that upsets store managers like Sylvia Muiumjian who are “scared (of) them attacking us. They have. They’ve threatened us.” Her store is Hart's Jewelry and Pawn Shop. Lauro Jimenez of Bailout Bail Bonds says “I had a couple in my office doing business with me yesterday with their kids and these guys just started fighting in front of the building.. the people left.” Carl Sagado has been manager of Van Nuys Pawn Shop for over 20 years. He says, “This is the worst its ever been. I feel bad for the homeless but yet they don’t take care of the area they’re in.”
Not true says Anjileen Swam. She's been homeless for three years. She says, “I try to keep my area clean. I get up and deal with the trash... I try to do my part.”
Meanwhile, LAPD Officer Saul Guardado said this was a good day. He and his team encouraged four people to take section 8 housing, but it’s not always easy. He says the city just can't sweep out the homeless and their property.
He says, "It’s against the law. We can’t touch the stuff, the stuff is their property."
Meanwhile, LA Councilwoman Nury Martinez who represents the district, says "they shouldn't be detrimentally impacted by unsanitary and unsafe encampments. Nor, should we as a city accept the idea of it being "Okay" for anyone to live in substandard and unsafe conditions."