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Homeowners Claim Venice Neighbor Has Turned His Front Yard Into Homeless Encampment

VENICE ( — Neighbors in Venice Monday sounded off about a group of homeless men living on the front lawn of a home.

Michael Betti and her kids have to walk past what she calls an "encampment" on Nowita Place each day.

"You can start to smell it here but from this stretch here this is where people usually go to the bathroom," said Betti, who explains that residents have been cleaning up human waste on this street in recent weeks.

Neighbors say the owner of a home in the area -- a man in his 90s – has allowed a couple of men to stay on his property as a trade-off for yard work.

CBS2 knocked on the man's door but no one answered.

Lusia Broyczko snapped a photo of a man sleeping on the street last week. A few nights before that, she says she found another person "right at the gate door where I couldn't walk into the house," she said.

The LAPD's Pacific Division says it's had at least nine calls for service on this block in about two weeks.

"Police have sort of turned their backs on things," said Betti. "And really, they don't have any great answers when we ask for help."

Police say a city ordinance allows the homeless to sleep on the sidewalk between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. but they have to keep ten-feet away from a gate, door or driveway and they can't block the sidewalk.

"They need to get out of their car and walk through that walk street and see what's happening," said Broyczko. "And be there more often."

An LAPD supervisor says she's considering adding foot patrols here, which didn't seem to bother the men, who neighbors say moved their belongings from the front yard to the alley.

"Call the police and when the police come in, everything is fine," said one man.

But "fine" is now how moms like Betti would character it.

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