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Business owners on Eat Street frustrated over lack of response to homeless encampment

Encampment near Eat Street continues to grow
Encampment near Eat Street continues to grow 01:59

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis dining destination is struggling to stomach a surge in petty crime. Businesses there believe a homeless encampment is to blame.

Three weeks after WCCO first reported on the concerns of Eat Street restaurant owners, the problem only seems to be growing.

"The encampment down the street's gotten much larger now," said Gus Parpas, the co-owner of the Greek restaurant, Christos. "It's twice its size."

READ MORE: Eat Street business owners come together to demand change after surge in petty crime

The encampment's located near 29th and Nicollet, not far from Tammy Wong's Rainbow Chinese Restaurant.

Wong's noticed the "enormous" amount of trash there. She says it could be keeping visitors away from Eat Street, hurting her business.

"It breaks my heart when I see it," Parpas said. "It's totally inhumane to see people in that predicament, and I think that talking about it is just not enough."

But action has been hard to come by.

Parpas appreciates that he at least had a meeting Wednesday with a staff person for his council member.

"I'm walking away with the impression that they don't have the ability to really implement change, certainly not in the short term," he said.

In a statement, the city said, "The City is working with the property owner to close the encampment in this next week. MPD has increased patrols to keep watch in the area and minimize spillover to other parts of the neighborhood."

WCCO tried to contact the property owner over the phone and at his home but couldn't reach him.

"That's something the city should be focused more we can do our job of running our business," Wong said.

Parpas says the encampment is "a horrible reflection on the city."

The city's committed $1 million toward building more tiny homes in south Minneapolis, similar to the ones in the North Loop.

Hennepin County says its street outreach team regularly visits the encampment as one of its priorities.

The county says their team has placed nearly 300 people in shelters and housing over the last year.

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