Yakima homeless encampment is creating many problems for busines - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima homeless encampment is creating many problems for business owners

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YAKIMA, WA - Although businesses are still being effected by the homeless encampment in Yakima, the rules are being tightened and it will be closing down soon.

Rafael Gomez is the owner of La Morenita, a bakery on East Walnut Street near the homeless encampment.

His bakery has been there for 24 years...business is good, but lately clients don't feel safe going there. The reason: the homeless loitering on his property.

"I've seen it affect my clients a lot," Gomez told reporter Gilbert Magallon. "They ask for money, they get mad at them when they say no, and they're really insistent."

He says some homeless will enter his business sometimes with dogs, grab bread with their bare hands, and don't have enough money to pay for it. This has caused Gomez to take certain actions.

"I have problems with a lot of them. I've called the police, they come and go, I've even gotten restraining orders against some of them because they come and bother us."

Like others, Gomez says that his plants have been damaged and he's even restricted access to his restroom because certain people would use it to do drugs, leaving behind syringes and blood stains.

But that's nothing new; people in the area have complained about drug abuse before.

Someone who works just blocks from the encampment sent us a video of a homeless man in an alley under the influence of drugs.

Luz Bazan with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says that many businesses in the area are feeling the effects of this and other problems.

"There is a little bit of abuse going on by the homeless against the businesses; taking advantage and asking people for money, just actually going into the stores," Bazan shared.

The homeless encampment will be closed in mid-November when winter shelters open, but business owners like Gomez say that's only providing temporary relief for a big problem.

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