Business owners not seeing improvement among SF's homeless population

- San Francisco business owner Noeme Chahenian isn’t ready to give up, but she’s close.

“It happens all the time. I saw a naked man running around in front of our building and then he shot heroin in his behind,” said Chahenian. 

Her 40-year-old family-owned jewelry business sits on the edge of a Potrero Hill homeless encampment.  Her view of San Bruno Avenue includes dozens of tents. Drug use is rampant, car break ins are the norm.

She was fed up. Six months later her view has improved dramatically. San Bruno Avenue still has a few campers, but the lion share have moved out.  

“It’s better. There has been improvement, but the problem has not been solved. I’m happy with the response from the city, but at the same time there is still a ton of crime happening here,” said Chahenian.  

Chahenian swiped through pictures of damage in their parking lot from just last night. Two car windows broke, one lap top stolen. Garbage is still a big issue and they’re still homeless trying to inch their way back in and some with no apparent plans of moving out. 

The City says it has managed to get 100 campers out of this neighborhood and into safe housing, but it is a process. 

“We are not looking to sweep people. We were not looking to just clear people, but we were looking to make lasting resolutions so people can be able to begin their journey out of homelessness,” said Randy Quezada from San Francisco’s Dept. of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.  

While City leaders are doing their level best to find housing for the homeless, some of the business owners disagree. They say the homeless are just packing up and moving two blocks down the street.   

“I don’t think it’s gotten any better,” said Regi Robles a design consultant for EQ-3 and lavish furniture store nearby.  Robles calls it the “turnstile-affect.”  

“We all work in this area, we seem to just see them just navigate the neighborhood from down Townsend and Alameda and San Bruno Ave.”  

Quezada admits their job is far from over, but they are doing their best to push it forward. 

“We are not taking any victory laps that’s for sure, but we are definitely engaged in this area and continue to work with people in need and also the neighbors,” said Quezada.     

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