BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some downtown business owners said they're having to clean up human waste from their properties after homeless people stay there for the night, but they're not just staying for one night. Instead, it seems like some are making private properties their homes.
"It's a constant problem and something really needs to be done," said George Bayhi, who owns a law firm on Government St. in downtown Baton Rouge.
Bayhi's law firm is tucked behind the Chevron Gas Station on St. Ferdinand Street. He said the problem is after he leaves work and on the weekends, the homeless take over outside his property.
"I even come here a lot of times in the mornings, and I've got to wake people up to get them to leave because they're sleeping here," said Bayhi.
Bayhi said he cleaned off his porch Monday morning after he said trash was left behind. But, shoes were left behind by someone. On the side of his property, Bayhi said the homeless left behind trash, cans and even empty alcohol bottles. His railing on the porch is broken in several spots and Bayhi blames the homeless.
"I've had to clean up human waste from the steps. On the porch, there's generally a constant urine smell," said Bayhi.
On the back side of his property, below the handicap railing are leftover belongings.
"Some people actually consider this their home because they leave clothes here," said Bayhi.
There are cardboards and more trash on another side of the property, and there is a hole beneath the property next door, where more belongings are left behind.
"This is probably where a lot of people call home right here under this house. When the weather is bad or it's cold, they sleep under here," said Bayhi.
Bayhi said several of his neighboring business owners are also fed up with the issue.
Is it an issue of shelters simply not having enough room? Michael Acaldo with St. Vincent De Paul said they have open and available beds right now, and majority of the times, they have availability especially for men. However, he added they do have a strict policy.
"If they're high or intoxicated, we can't let them in," said Acaldo.
With all the alcohol containers found on the property, it is a choice the homeless may be making to stay out of the shelters. Meanwhile, Bayhi said he wants to see more police patrols to keep the homeless out of his private property.
"They're already making patrols. They're already aware of this guy's problems that he's having. They do go by there. It's just unfortunate just that the times they have been out by there, they haven't located anybody," said Lt. Dunnam with the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Lt. Dunnam said once they get their downtown precinct going, they will patrol more frequently.
Plus, the Baton Rouge city-parish does still have their program called Way Home. The program is set up to where if a homeless person has a family member or job lined up in another city, the city-parish will buy a one-way ticket for them to get to that city.