SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento hair salon owner says the homeless crisis is forcing her to move her business after 15 years.
On Friday Elizabeth Novak posted a video online calling out Governor Gavin Newsom, asking him to fix the problem.
She says long-standing business owners like herself are dealing with people breaking into her shop and now she’s left to pick up the pieces. Inside her salon, Novak says she finds a safe space, but outside the homeless issue has gotten so bad, she says she cleans human excrement from the front porch at least once a week.
Now, she says it’s running her out of town.
“I’m waving a white flag, it’s an SOS, it really is,” Novak said.
On Friday she released a video which has since been seen millions of times. She says she was sending a message to Governor Newsom asking him to change the laws that are lenient on homeless people.
In the video, she says, “I have to fight off people to push their way into my shop, and are homeless and on drugs because you don’t wanna arrest people for drug offenses.”
We spoke with her at her shop on 21st street. She says since the video was released she’s been harassed online, she even got a phone call from an angry neighbor during our interview.
Novak said when she comes into work she’s never sure what she’s going to see, including her shop broken into. She partly blames the laws preventing police from arresting homeless people.
“I have compassion, I love these people, but I’m not able to work at my business any longer,” she said.
Other business owners shared they’ve dealt with similar issues. But Dale Glazer with “Visiting Angels” just down the block says this isn’t Governor Newsom’s responsibility.
“Everybody should be at the table who is a stakeholder, from the local business to the city council, to the mayor, it is not Gavin’s responsibility,” Glazer said.
He too has a gate outside of his business so his employees don’t confront sleeping homeless people. But he wants to see the city invest in a new space for the homeless.
“There are all these things to make Sacramento better, but we can’t focus on the fundamentals of human decency,” he said.
For Novak, she doesn’t call this a political issue, but one business owners downtown are dealing with daily.
“I have been run out of my business,” she said.
Novak says she plans to be out of the space by October 1st. But the harassment since this video went viral has gotten so bad, she says she may need to leave the space before then.
We did reach out to Governor Gavin Newsom‘s office for comment on this issue but have not yet heard back.