‘A boiling point’: Small business owner says homeless community is affecting revenue

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Small business owner Ryan Reburn of HireQuest tells ABC4 he is struggling with more than just the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says the homeless population that has moved right outside of his business has caused him to lose customers and revenue, and more so cause him and his employees to worry about their safety.

“This is something that needs to be solved now,” says Reburn. “Not in the fall, spring, or next summer, this is something we feel is kind of at a boiling point and we don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

Reburn says he calls police frequently, but feels like he isn’t getting help.

Salt Lake City Police say that’s not the case.

They say they have to follow the law, and being homeless is not a crime, nor is staying on public property.

“People may not realize we’re working on those issues, but know that we are and stay in contact with us,” Salt Lake City Police Detective Michael Ruff says. “Again, we need people to be a part of the community.”

Mayor Mendenhall and Gov. Cox have also been addressing this issue.

They both hired people to oversee the homelessness problem and gather a team to fix it. 

“We all have to work together, and without the participation of our business owners and those that live in the city and visit the city, we again aren’t going to know where those issues are and we would love to help people, so be patient with us and we’ll respond, but it may take a little bit of time,” says Ruff.

Mendenhall gave ABC 4 this statement:

“Homelessness is a statewide issue that needs statewide attention. We’re hopeful for the potential outcomes of the state’s new homeless coordinator’s work. At a City level, we are committed to deploying solutions that will make an impact on getting our unsheltered population connected with services and shelter, and addressing the concerns of residents and business owners. Already this year we’ve made significant progress in this area, from proposing funding to make permanent the Community Commitment Program, to expanding the Downtown Ambassador program to North Temple, and announcing the next steps in the creation of a tiny home village in our City.”

The Salt Lake City Police Department says it is understaffed, but takes complaints about the homeless population seriously.

They add if you are a business owner and are experiencing any sort of trespassing or suspicious activity, report it to them.

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