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Business owners in Philadelphia's Kensington section say city's efforts to clean up aren't enough

Kensington restaurant owners say efforts to clean up aren't enough yet: "We need solutions"
Kensington restaurant owners say efforts to clean up aren't enough yet: "We need solutions" 02:24

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The owners of a restaurant in Philadelphia's Kensington section say that since last month's actions by the city, which included street cleaning and removing an encampment in the neighborhood, people experiencing homelessness and people using drugs have been pushed to an area near their business.

Mariangeli Alicea and her husband, Chef Dionicio Jiménez, are co-owners of Cantina la Martina at D Street and Kensington Avenue. They say that people who used to gather farther south have now been pushed to a spot near their restaurant.

"When we come in in the morning, now we have to remove people who are sleeping on our doorsteps … It doesn't feel safe," Alicea said.

A group of about a dozen people were along the sidewalk across from their restaurant Sunday afternoon. 

"We need solutions," Jiménez said. "We don't need moving people one side to the other side."

Alicea and Jiménez said sales at their Kensington location have dropped 60% since the city's efforts began in early May. They rely on their food truck at Cherry Street Pier for extra income, they said.

"You hear all these speeches about how you are going to support the kids, you are going to support the families, you are going to support the businesses, but your actions say something otherwise," Jiménez said.

Jiménez and Alicea said they understand this crisis has been years in the making and won't be fixed overnight, but they also feel like the plan to put more police officers in the neighborhood isn't enough. They said they are hoping the mayor shares more on her long-term plans with the people who call these streets home.

"You can't police your way out of this situation," Alicea said.

The Philadelphia Police Department's newest graduating class of officers will be deployed to Kensington, multiple law enforcement sources confirmed to CBS News Philadelphia Friday.  

"We really feel we gave 10 steps forward and now we're 20 steps back," Alicea said.

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker's office declined to comment on this story. 

Philadelphia police said "sharing our plans with community members first has always been a top priority."

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