SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — For residents and surrounding businesses on Howe Avenue near Hallmark Drive, one large abandoned commercial building is an eyesore filled with problems.
But for two men, it is home.
“If you need a place to stay, so this is one of the best places. It’s safe, warm. You can get away from all the craziness out there,” said Chad, who did not want to provide his last name. “Inside it’s peaceful. Pretty much leave you alone.”
“You might as well let them stay here. Everybody be on the streets then,” said Darnell, who also did not want to provide his last name.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said it has been dealing with problems there for at least the past six months.
“There have been citations issued, as well as arrests being made,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Zaheem Buksh. “It has been an ongoing problem.”
FOX40 met up with a Sacramento Municipal Utility District worker in the parking lot. He said he had just turned off the electricity, which squatters had tapped into.
The manager at some neighboring townhouses said homeless people have broken through their fence and pillaged through the garbage.
On the other side of the empty complex, a restaurant manager said they called law enforcement daily for everything ranging from drug deals to homeless people pestering patrons.
“I’ve noticed a difference since I’ve been living in Sacramento for about 20 years now,” said restaurant patron Sandy Regan. “There’s a large population of the homeless people, then they’re going to be driven out, where do they go?”
“I feel for them, but I do feel unsafe around the homeless,” said nearby resident Karin Salas.
FOX40 reached out to the owner of the commercial building but did not hear back.
The sheriff’s office said the building is scheduled to be demolished next month. It will be replaced by retail shops and some residential units.
“Move on to the next one,” Chad told FOX40.