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Businesses along East Lake Street feeling the weight of a growing homeless encampment

Lake street businesses are feeling the impact of a nearby homeless encampment
Lake street businesses are feeling the impact of a nearby homeless encampment 01:37

MINNEAPOLIS — Its business as usual inside A & J Fish and Chicken but owner Jamal Tashtoush says the last two weeks have been rough.

"You come not knowing what to expect especially now, it's more than nervous I'm kind of scared," Tashtoush said.

Tashtoush believes crime has gone up and sales have gone down because of a homeless encampment that popped up behind his restaurant. 

"I can feel the business going down," he said.

In just two weeks, he says sales dropped 25%. Despite foot traffic slowing down, Tashtoush says been shelling out thousands to beef up security and spent hours cleaning up around his business.

"Am I supposed to go around the building and pick up those needles?" Tashtoush said. "I got a family I don't want to catch a disease."

Duke's Cars and Towing is also struggling.

"The business is slow nobody wants to be around," said Yasmin Vanesa Cano, Duke's Cars and Towing manger.

Cano believes people who live in the encampment tried to break in several times by smashing windows. She's not surprised business is slow.

"It's crazy, it's dangerous we are not feeling safe around here because of the camp behind us," Cano said.

Neighbors are also feeling uneasy. The Romero family say they don't allow their daughter to ride her bike anymore and rush in and out of the home. Minneapolis police responded to a shooting in the area Saturday morning and on Monday police say a 24-year-old man was fatally shot between Portland Avenue and Fifth Ave South.

"The city has to do something about it," Tashtoush said.

After 29 years on Lake Street, Tashtoush is hopeful for the future.

"I want things to go back to normal where I can see my regular customers and be safe," he said.

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