SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Midtown residents say they’re fed up with the homeless in their community. Now, they’re asking the city to take action.
“I lived here for 17 years and I’ve never seen it this bad!” said Nina Rodriguez.
One woman told CBS13 she came home to find a man lying half-naked in her flower garden and peeing on the plants. And she’s not the only one who says the homeless problem makes city living almost unbearable.
“There was brown stains, it smelled like alcohol, but also like urine and deep feces,” said Steve Knappe.
Back in November, Knappe had just parked his car outside of his Midtown home the night before. The next morning, he returned to his Jeep Cherokee and got quite the shock.
“I opened the door and sure enough there was someone in there!” he said.
A homeless man had broken into his car and made himself at home.
“If you take a port-a-potty and dump it on its side, that’s what it looked like!” he explained.
Knappe called the police and took the car to get cleaned up.
“Couldn’t get the smell out,” he said. “Insurance came by, I had to total it out and it was gone!”
But Midtown’s growing homeless population isn’t just a problem for residents.
“Last year it was really bad!” Rodriguez said.
She works at The Naked Lounge Coffee Shop on 15th Street.
“We had them hopping over the fence and sleeping on our patio,” Rodriguez said. “We had drug use in the bathroom and now have a key that we keep back here.”
And once the visits got out of control, she says management created their own how-to guide on approaching the homeless.
“One of us kind of quietly approaches them and nicely asks them to leave,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes we even offer them things like ‘hey can I get you a water, I just need you to drink it outside.’”
The Midtown Business Association has a homeless outreach program designed to connect homeless people with social services in the area. They also handle trash removal and sidewalk pressure washing.
“You see the cops doing what they can to clean up underpasses, but 2 or 3 days later, they’re back there again!” Knappe said.
There are 85 public restrooms across the city, 28 of which are open 24-7. And the city council is working to make sure every member of the public knows exactly where they are.
“We just keep throwing money at a growing problem that’s just getting worse and worse,” Knappe said.
In two weeks, the city council will be discussing different ways to expand restroom access to the public.