California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes

California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
  • Sacramento residents and business owners have spoken out on the city’s growing rates of homelessness – which is up 19 per cent in the last two years 
  • Hair salon owner Liz Novak brought attention to the issue last week when she uploaded a video claiming she has been forced to relocate due to a vagrancy epidemic
  • Antique shop owner Steve Sylvester, whose business is located across from Novak’s, said the problem has worsened in the past 18 months due to the city’s drug scene  
  • ‘Sacramento is the place where people are told you can get a quick fix with cheap drugs,’ Sylvester told DailyMail.com 
  • He said one homeless drug addict entered his store ’95 per cent naked’ and damaged $300-$400 worth of china when he was asked to leave 
  • A waitress at Pancake Circus diner, identified only as 70-year-old Terri, said she starts every working day at 4.15am ‘cleaning up needles and poop and washing down urine,’ and shooing the homeless from the property

Cali Carlisle admits she is a heroin addict — ‘but in a healthy way,’ she insists, even if the visual evidence belies that claim.

Her nose is the brightest shade of red imaginable. She constantly picks at scabs all over her body. Her home is a makeshift bed beneath Interstate 80 in Sacramento.

And Monday was her 26th birthday. Not that you would ever guess. Anyone looking at her would think she is at least 15 years older. 

Carlisle is part of California‘s growing homeless emergency. The state has around 130,000 people without a roof over their heads. But she is not in downtown Los Angeles where Skid Row is a symbol of the national crisis or San Francisco where nearly one person in every hundred lives on the streets.

Instead, Carlisle and her fiancé Brian Workman are in Sacramento, the state capital, where homelessness has shot up by a shocking 19 per cent in the past two years, putting the problem squarely on the doorstep of Gavin Newsom, the state’s Democratic governor.


California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Growing issue: Sacramento’s homeless population has risen 19 per cent in two years, with 5,570 people living on the streets.  Pictured above is a man sleeping on the sidewalk in broad daylight
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
As of 2018, California has the largest homeless population in the country, with 129,972 people living on the streets. The percentage has grown across Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
A recent survey showed 93 per cent of Sacramento’s homeless either grew up in the city or had lived there long-term before hitting the streets, according to the city’s spokesman
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Sacramento, which has an estimated population of 1.5million, has a significantly smaller homeless population than Los Angeles, but the problem is growing

Last week, salon owner Liz Novak brought the nation’s attention to the problem when she announced to great fanfare that she was shutting up shop because she could not deal with the needles, the human waste, and the general aggravation that comes with having a business in the city.

‘I just want to tell you what happens when I get to work. I have to clean up the poop and the pee off of my doorstep. I have to clean-up the syringes. I have to politely ask the people who I care for, I care for these people that are homeless, to move their tents out of the way of the door to my business,’ she said in a video posted on Twitter, which gained the attention of Fox News and other national media outlets.

‘I am angry about it. I wouldn’t be relocating if it wasn’t for this issue,’ Novak added.  

Carlisle and Workman insist they are not part of the problem that forced Novak out. 

‘All we do is lie around, eat ice-cream, have sex, and take drugs,’ said Cali. ‘Man, I love ice-cream.

Carlisle says she needs heroin just to exist. ‘I need it for everything — just to walk and to breathe. 

‘I did go to rehab once, she added. ‘In Orangeville I think… or maybe it was somewhere else.’ 

Then she started a long rambling monologue that included ramekins and pico de gallo among other subjects and went off into her own world. 

California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Elizabeth Novak made a heart-felt plea to Gavin Newsom to take action. Pictured her shop after it was broken into
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Novak’s front door was kicked in and the inside was ransacked
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
The salon was perched between a barber shop and another business. Novak said she had to ‘clean up the poop and the pee off of my doorstep’ on a daily basis
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Novak said she has grown tired of having to clean up syringes, urine and feces from outside her business daily. Pictured above are a slew of discarded syringes on the sidewalk
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Drug use has apparently run rampant in the area because people are told they can get ‘quick fix with cheap drugs,’ one business owner said

Carlisle grew up in Sacramento. Workman made his way there. Originally from San Jose, he found the rent got too high as tech companies moved in.

‘I moved to Placerville with a friend who had worked for Netflix and got money from their IPO,’ he said, displaying the few rotten teeth that remain in his mouth.

‘We had a falling out and I moved here because it was cheaper,’ added Workman, who had a job remodeling outdoor areas of homes. 

‘I got married in 2005 and had a couple of kids. I was married for nine years.

‘But then my father-in-law came to stay and there wasn’t room and I was paying rent for an apartment but couldn’t live there.’

He lost a job and says he couldn’t get another because he has a hearing problem. ‘I needed a hearing aid that cost $3,000 but I couldn’t afford it. It’s really difficult to keep work if you can’t hear. So I ended up on the streets.

California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Brian Workman, originally from San Jose, told DailyMail.com he ended up on the streets after losing his job. He now lives beneath Interstate 80 in Sacramento with fiancee Cali Carlisle (far left)
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Carlisle (center) and Workman both insist they are not part of the problem that forced Novak out. In fact, Carlisle says all they do is ‘lie around, eat ice-cream, have sex, and take drugs’
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
The underpass has become an illegal campsite for rough sleepers, who are forced to leave when Highway Patrol officers clean up under the freeways. They tend to move back minutes after the clean-up
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Jeffrey Witte (pictured) 42, lives with his seven-year-old dog Luis under the freeway. He is seen being rousted by Highway Patrol Officer Caleb Howard
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Steve Sylvester, who owns The Antique Company, across the street from Novak’s hair salon, said his store has seen two ‘major incidents’ in the past six weeks

‘It’s a bit ironic,’ he added. ‘My name’s Workman — and I can’t work.’

He likes to keep his area of 23rd Street tidy. He has two long-handled brooms and regularly sweeps away. 

Every few days, workers from the California Department of Transportation backed by Highway Patrol officers clean up under the freeways.

They post notices, giving three days’ notice and announcing exactly when they are coming and they trash any unattended items. 

Carlisle and Workman — and many others — merely move their possessions out from the limited protection the highway gives them from the elements to the corner of the street, which is city land.

Within a few minutes they move back again. ‘It’s a game of cat and mouse,’ said Workman. ‘But moving my stuff keeps me in shape. I’m in pretty good shape really.’

Highway Patrol Officer Caleb Howard, whose work includes backing up the CalTrans clean-up crew, said they rarely junk stuff that the homeless want. 

‘If they abandon it, they don’t want it,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘They know when we are coming.’

Jeffrey Witte, 42, who was staying under the highway a couple of blocks from Workman and Carlisle, agreed, shortly after being rousted by Howard and his crew.

‘It’s somewhat fair,’ he said. ‘It’s slightly reasonable. Everyone knows the limits.’

Witte lives with his seven-year-old dog Luis. ‘I got him in Montana,’ he said.

HOMELESSNESS UP IN CALIFORNIA’S CAPITAL 

Over the last two years, the rate of homelessness  in Sacramento has risen by 19 per cent. 

More than a tenth of that number, 688, were children, and 70 per cent were living without shelter.   

According to the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, California has the largest homeless population in the country, with 129,972 people living on the streets as of 2018.

The issue has long plagued Los Angeles, which has seen its homeless population rise by a staggering 75 per cent in the last six years. 

A report released in June this year revealed there are 59,000 people living on the streets across Los Angeles County – a 12 per cent increase from 2018 – while the city has seen a 16 per cent rise with 36,300.  

By comparison, Sacramento, which has an estimated population of 1.5million, seems to have a significantly smaller homeless population, with 5,570, but the problem appears to be growing. 

‘I just like traveling,’ said Witte, originally from Vernon, New Jersey. 

‘I hop freight trains. I’ve been all round the country. I went to high school in Virginia, lived in South Carolina, now I’m in California.

‘California is different,’ he said, admitting that legal marijuana is one thing that draws him to the state. ‘But I’ll move on soon. I want to go overseas.’

He is not alone. Many of Sacramento’s homeless are expected to leave town in the next couple of months.

‘They’re migratory,’ antique shop owner Steve Sylvester told DailyMail.com. ‘When the weather gets cooler they’ll head down toward San Diego.’

Sylvester’s store is just across the street from Novak’s salon. He has sympathy for his fellow business-owner but says he would never close up just because of the homeless.

‘I understand it is more intimidating for her, she worked alone,’ said Sylvester, a Londoner who has run his store in Sacramento for 20 years.

But he recognizes the problem. ‘We’ve had two major incidents in the past six weeks,’ he said.

California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Sylvester, a London native, has run his store (pictured) in Sacramento for 20 years. He recently dealt with a drug addicted vagrant who came into his store ’95 per cent naked’ and damaged his property when he was asked to leave
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
A sign is posted outside an antique store where homeless people have been regularly harassing customers in Sacramento
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
The increasing problem has been put squarely on the doorstep of Gavin Newsom, the state’s Democratic governor
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
Some streets in the city are now lined with tents, bikes and handcarts as they become a de facto home for the vagrants
California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com
The main homeless camp in Sacramento is located on North B Street. There, Pam Love (pictured left) 43, and Nyelah Averi (pictured in the tent) 32, share one of dozens of tents that line the street

‘We had a young man come in 95 per cent naked — he had underpants on but below where they mattered. I asked him to leave and he asked why. I said he was upsetting my customers and he wasn’t really dressed for shopping.

‘As he left, he held out his arm and wiped out a whole china dinner service, worth $300-$400.

‘He was a drug addict. He didn’t know what he was doing. He was on Planet Zog.’

In the second incident a man threw a rock through Sylvester’s window at four in the morning. He clambered through the shattered plate glass, found his way to the outdoor area and fell asleep. That’s where cops found him.

‘The problem has gotten noticeably worse in the past 18 months because Sacramento is the place where people are told you can get a quick fix with cheap drugs,’ said Sylvester.

‘Sacramento is a wonderful place, great weather, with nice, accommodating people who give the homeless money, which unfortunately too often goes to drugs. This area has 30 or so restaurants so there is always food to be had.’

But he says there is another problem. ‘I know homeless people are being given bus tickets here from both Davis and Reno because they are told Sacramento will look after them,’ he said.

That allegation — that other cities give one-way tickets to Sacramento to get them out of town — is a common claim around town. 

Officer Howard of the Highway Patrol told DailyMail.com he knew of people getting tickets from Oregon.

City of Sacramento spokesman Tim Swanson said a Sacramento Bee article from 2013 found that Nevada was busing the homeless away from Las Vegas and one high-profile case had ended in Sacramento, but he did not address the specific allegations.

But he said a recent survey showed 93 per cent of Sacramento’s homeless either grew up in the city or had lived there long-term before hitting the streets. 

‘This statistic contradicts the notion that people are coming to Sacramento specifically for services.’ 

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California’s homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento’s business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes, Totalrehash.com