This second letter provided by Sharon Byrne comes from a business owner a few doors away from Casa Esperanza. They fear stating their name in case of retaliation. The owners were once homeless themselves as newly married teens! What they see daily is mind-boggling. On July 3rd, they witnessed terrible incidents, called each of the five numbers given to them by Casa Esperanza, and hit an array of voice mails and ‘how did you get this number?’ responses. They never got a call back. They had already called 911.
“As a business owner located very close to Casa, I’m simply stunned to find out that their permit requires neighborhood watch and outreach. Very simply said, they have failed. To say that we spend our entire day dealing with their clients would not even begin to explain what a problem it is. Just yesterday I watched a man leave Casa and proceed to attack, kick and hit every parked car on the street. Those car owners will never know what happened and it simply isn’t possible for me to monitor this full time. You may be asking why I didn’t call the police. In fact I had called the police earlier that day when a woman beat her boyfriend until his head was bleeding. We have cut back our 911 calls to “life threatening” only. Some days are busier than others and we have to determine if starting a bonfire on our neighbor’s property after hours should be considered life threatening. I cannot and will not make this my full time job.
However by no choice of my own, it is now my part time responsibility. All day long while running a business in a struggling economy, I stand humiliated in front of my customers while parades of homeless and mentally I’ll people walk through my parking lot. I silently pray they won’t stop. But around half of them do. Before I am judged for being intolerant I want to point out that how I feel towards the homeless in neither here nor there. What is significant is that my customers should feel safe at my business and I should be able to maintain a professional atmosphere. Because regardless of the fact that I’m tolerant or not, I cannot force my customers to be tolerant and they may simply choose to go elsewhere. I do want to end by letting people know that our police department has been very helpful and on task. Mike McGrew in particular came out and cleaned up the area on a Saturday by asking people to move on. This blame lies solely on the staff of Casa Esperanza and their lack of concern for business owners. I am not the enemy. I did everything right. I give back to my community, I employ several families and I am raising a family myself. We specifically asked the shelter to have 24 hour roaming patrol and nothing changed. Imagine our surprise to find out that this was a condition of their permit all along. As for the prisoners now being brought into the area by Casa, I can only say this; we went 9 years without ever being robbed. Recently during daylight hours someone broke a window and ripped the cash register out of the counter. Not only did we lose more money than we can afford to, but we had to spend more upgrading our security system. We are a target and Casa Esperanza is supplying the ammunition.”