Chapel Hill merchants at odds over homeless

August 21, 2013 3:28:11 PM PDT
Some business owners in downtown Chapel Hill are calling for a crackdown on the homeless.

Frustrated merchants say homeless people harass their customers and it is costing them business.

"Nobody is interested in helping the downtown merchants and their clientele -- the people who make up the heart and soul of this community," said Doc Ryan, of Sugarland Bakery. "These are serious problems for us."

One person who spoke with ABC11 said she has seen several alarming incidents involving homeless people on Franklin Street.  

"She told him to move, so he went over to her car, put his coffee on top, whipped his thing out and urinated all over her car. And this is right in front of a family with two little kids," she said.

Meg McGurk from the Downtown Business Partnership said the community is working on the problem and has made strides with their homeless population. She said the number of homeless people on the street is diminishing and there's an outreach court to help.

"Poverty, homelessness, substance abuse....these are not simple issues to have an answer for. It takes a community to work together," McGurk said.

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