'Downtown LA is a Hellscape.' Business Owner Says City Does Nothing to Remedy Homeless Encampment Problems - NBC Southern California
Streets of Shame

Streets of Shame

Southern California's Homelessness Epidemic

'Downtown LA is a Hellscape.' Business Owner Says City Does Nothing to Remedy Homeless Encampment Problems

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Downtown Business Owner Says 311 Won't Help Homeless Problem

    The business owner says a growing homeless encampment had a fire, and despite him calling 311 at least 15 times, he hasn't gotten help for the fire hazard. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019)

    One downtown Los Angeles business employee said a homeless encampment is taking over the area, and despite his pleas for help from the city, he isn't getting through to anyone.

    "Downtown LA is a hellscape now. And I don't know who's in charge of keeping it clean and nice but they're not doing it. And I think that's pretty shameful," Josh Kaye said.

    The encampment is behind Kaye's business and several others on 15th Street just south of the Fashion District.

    A week before, Kaye, who works at Lunch Money clothing, said there was a fire in the encampment that nearly jumped the fence to his business.

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    NBC4 has obtained two citations that could put taxpayers on the hook for thousands of dollars related to the typhus outbreak. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019.

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    "Our gate was completely singed — burned," he said. "We can't load anything in or out of here anymore."

    Kaye said he rarely opens the gate — if ever — because the encampment growing behind it.

    "We had to call the fire department. They came out, opened the gate, saw the carnage, told us you know what, sorry guys, there's nothing we can do — can't touch it, can't clean it up. You should contact 311," he said.

    And therein lies the problem. Kaye said he's called the city's 311 line 15 times in the last five months.

    "Been on the phone with them, been on hold with them, been with street services, trash dumping — all that — and I was just bounced around like a pingpong," he said.

    He even blasted them on social media for the "accidental fire" damage.

    Questions Remain About Encampments in Sepulveda Basin

    [LA] Questions Remain About Encampments in Sepulveda Basin

    It's been a week and a half since a cleanup in the Sepulveda Basin after a fire started by a homeless encampment. But did the city really clear it out or have some encampments remained or just moved right back. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.

    (Published Friday, Aug. 16, 2019)

    "Ideally this would be cleaned up when I submit a request," he said. "I'm sure somebody's hands are tied because nothing happens."

    He also worries what would happen if a fire were to break out inside his warehouse. He'd only have the front door to escape, because he says the encampment is blocking the alley. He said it's also affecting business.

    "This company next to us — these two companies used to take deliveries frequently. I haven't seen any of that happen in over a year," he said.

    NBCLA was awaiting comment from Mayor Eric Garcetti's office. 

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