Modesto business owners say homeless issues are causing financial hardships

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MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- On the verge of shuttering his business’ doors, a Modesto man is bringing attention to issues he said are caused by the homeless.

The trash, graffiti, drug use and human waste around Modesto’s Blue Goose Antiques and Collectibles are all part of what business owners say are part of the daily grind.

“We put our life into this place and we try to put everything into the neighborhood, make it a nicer neighborhood too, but it’s just never-ending,” said Michael Alexander, who is co-owner of Blue Goose Antiques and Collectibles.

“It’s getting pretty volatile for us, you know, we constantly are assaulted, we constantly have to clean up after these people,” said AJ Pontillo,  who owns A.J.’s Bail Bonds across the street.

But Alexander, who also provides security, said the blight is causing more than just a nuisance. It’s driving customers away.

“It’s sad though because our store is getting real slow in business right now because of the homeless people in the neighborhood,” Alexander told FOX40.

Alexander claimed the issues worsened when nearby property owners allowed the encampment to stay.

“The police say they can’t do anything about it because he gave them permission,” he said.

However, property owner Lynette Scott said after years of kicking trespassers off the property only for them to come back and with the Modesto Outdoor Emergency Shelter's recent closure, working with the homeless is what they're left with.

“Our group that had been working with us and had stayed in the back and keeping our front clean get the blame,” Scott said.

Scott said their family had tried for years to get help from Modesto and California leaders.

“We’re in a bind and we don’t have the finances to take it any further than doing this,” Scott explained.

Alexander said he believes the makeshift homes in the parking lot are not the solution and fears that soon he’ll have to shutter his doors, like he was forced to do with his other shop.

Alexander said the alcohol, drug use, vandalism and theft got so bad for him that he had no choice but to close down his other store last year.

“Ongoing, endless problem and this is our last chance to keep the store open,” he said.

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