A Los Angeles business owner is calling on officials to take action to remove a homeless encampment in her area that she says has nude inhabitants and is deterring customers.
The woman, who asked to be identified only as “Debra,” told Eyewitness News that she has owned a hair business near San Vicente Boulevard in Beverly Grove for two decades, but issues with the nearby unhoused population increased more recently.
“I have a nice clientele, but now my clientele is getting to the point where they just don’t feel comfortable,” she said, noting that she is also nervous to stay open past 6 p.m.
One photo taken on Tuesday shows a naked woman lounging on a couch at the encampment.
“I saw the couch one day out there and I think, ‘Oh my God,’” Debra recalled.
“The next day, I came back and see she’s all over the couch and she’s just naked. She was crying. I felt bad for her, you know? I wanted to like give her something to cover up but I felt like if I do the little things, then I’ll have everyone coming and asking for help.”
Debra explained to Eyewitness News that she called her councilmember about the issue, but has not received a reply.
Locals are also quick to point out the disparity between conditions in Los Angeles-adjacent section of Beverly Grove and its upscale neighbor, Beverly Hills.
While sidewalks on the Los Angeles side of the shopping center are reportedly littered with tents and trash, the Beverly Hills area is pristine.
“There’s nothing in Beverly Hills,” business owner Mike Terani complained to ABC7.
“Right when you come over in L.A., that’s where nobody can do anything and nobody cares.”
Dr. Kenneth Wright, who owns a medical practice on the block, backed up Terani’s claims, and says LAPD officers have told him there is nothing they can do about the situation.
“I talked to the officer — he’s a great guy — he says, ‘Look, they tell me from the mayor’s office, they tell me from my chief, to leave them here,’” Wright said.
“’We’re not enforcing vagrancy laws here.’”
Wright also showed the outlet photos of a homeless encampment behind his office that eventually went up in flames, costing him $25,000 in damages.
“Luckily nobody was hurt, but the smoke went into my medical office building. We had to shut down for two weeks,” he lamented.
But Va Lecia Adams Kellum, the new CEO of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, told the outlet that Los Angeles’ unhoused crisis is the same as other cities.
“What we hear is that the encampment problem is everywhere and that all the cities are feeling it,” she said.
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