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Northridge business owner says homelessness hurting sales

Homelessness disrupting business for tuxedo store in Northridge
Homelessness disrupting business for tuxedo store in Northridge 02:44

A San Fernando Valley business owner is fed up. 

CBSLA Reporter Rick Montanez spoke to Houman Mika, the owner of a tuxedo rental store in Northridge, who said that business has been bad thanks to the environment created by a homeless encampment just outside his storefront.

Mika said that his store, Azar Man, located on the 19348 block of Londelius Street has suffered mightily as a result to the homeless people. 

Houman Mika

Mika said that anybody walking buy his business or any businesses nearby see nothing but out in the open drug use, trash pile up and illegal parking, which are all contributing to a drop in tuxedo rentals and income.

Making matters worse, Mika said there has been little movement by the city of Los Angeles. 

"This is what we see when we enter during the day and when we leave. And instead of focusing on the business, to make the business grow, we have to be calling (for help)," Mika said.

Mika said he's called the police. He's called his local council office and other city departments hoping to get them to remove the items collecting on and sometimes blocking the sidewalk.

He's posted photos on Facebook, asking for community help, which is how CBSLA found this story.

"It's not just an eyesore, it's also really a health issue at this point. We have people doing drugs. We've seen prostitution. We have seen... you name it," Mika said.

In addition to Mika's tuxedo business, across the street the owner of an auto shop says he lost his top customer. 

And a church next door told Montanez that its congregation doesn't feel safe anymore around the area.

"Every night on my way home there's 8 people sitting here that are just so blown out they don't even know you're walking by," Brian Cashman, a pastor at Valley Metro Church said.

Cashman said that parents don't want to drop kids off for events at the church because of the encampments.

Women's ministry programs have moved off site because they felt unsafe.  

"It's an uphill battle because, again, the city is not doing their part," Cashman said.

Both Cashman and Mika have seen city crews and police respond and even offer housing or assistance to the people living there but said more needs to be done.

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