Business owner: Homeless to blame for loss of business

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Jeremy Totel spent Thursday cleaning up his grandfather’s large building in downtown Phoenix.

The building and everything in it will be sold at a public auction Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Totel and his grandfather claimed their business dropped off because of the homeless population hanging around 11th Avenue and Madison.

"Most of the times you come down here you smell marijuana urine or poop or something. Would you want to come down here and do business if it was smelling that way? Probably not," said Totel.

There are blankets, shopping carts and loads of people just hanging around on the sidewalk.

Homeless services are offered around this part of town, attracting crowds.

Totel said clients were intimidated by the people loitering in the area.

Jesse Anderson is homeless and feels the same.

"I'm very intimidated to walk around these neighborhoods especially during certain parts of the day and night," said Anderson.

David Bridge manages Human Services Campus and recognizes there's a problem.

"We are going to start putting together this strategic plan to try to figure out how we can better serve this neighborhood and reduce this burden because this doesn't help anybody, doesn't help the campus or the people that need to get help," said Bridge.

For Totel's family business it's just too late, but for business owner Earl Knudsen, who owns Westech Recyclers, it's not.

"It's a difficult spot because a lot of them are in a difficult place, and we want to help them, but a lot times a lot of them are high too," said Knudsen.

Knudsen admits the area is cleaner now than in the past.

Sergeant Steve Martos with Phoenix Police said they’ve put up Porta-Potties and garbage bins to help curb blight.

3TV spotted officers patrolling the area and enforcing the laws, like no camping on the sidewalk.

Volunteers were also spotted picking up trash in the area.