Patience has run out for one business owner near House of Charity

Vandalism, loitering, and more plague the area
Patience has run out for one business owner near House of Charity

Vandalism, loitering, over-night camping, and even human feces are just some of the problems plaguing businesses near the House of Charity in downtown Spokane.

“There’s urine in this spot every morning,” said Cassel Promotions and Signs owner Tracy Cassel as he walked around the entrance to his business.

He points to around the corner where he found human feces early Monday morning, right next to a pile of needles.

“The House of Charity is out of control,” he said, “our customers are afraid to come down here and it shouldn’t be this way.”

He says after 30 years at his current location down the block from the homeless shelter, consideration is being given to packing up and moving. His customers and his employees deserve a safe, clean environment.

“My whole building had been vandalized with taggings, etched and broken windows,” he said.

He says some mornings he has to spend two to three hours cleaning up after the homeless and transient folks who overnight around his business. He pointed out the security video of a man spray painting the entrance to his building.

“They are turning this business area into a dump, a place where its not safe to come sometimes,” he said. “I am so frustrated, and I have been for quite sometime.”

The homeless plight and growing problem is one he’s sympathetic to, and acknowledges the work the House of Charity and Catholic Charities does to support the community, but enough is enough.

“There are just way too many people in this one area,” he said.

The manager of the coffee shop across the street from Cassel Promotions and Signs told KXLY she’s being dealing with the growing transient crowd as well.

“They have painted the air conditioning, they have broken in, they’ve tried to kick in the doors,” said Morgan DeAugustino, “harassment with them trying to open the windows, I have had death threats three weeks in a row for one of my employees.”

Rob McCann, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities, said they want to be good neighbors to the businesses in the area. They do offer to reimburse companies for costs associated with vandalism, something he said makes them unique as a homeless shelter. They also have their own clean-up crews that go out five times a day to keep up with the crowds, regardless of whether they are their clientele or not.

Catholic Charity did cut back its service, limiting the amount of people that are able to overnight in the shelter, acknowledging they are dealing with over-crowding. They have plans to open several more housing facilities in the coming year, though they would be more permanent as opposed to overnight shelters.

Spokane Police told KXLY they are maintaining their current levels of patrols around House of Charity, and frequently respond to incidents there.

For businesses concerned with vandalism, theft, or unsafe situations they recommend calling 911 if its occurring as you watch, or Crime Check otherwise.

They do have a designated officer who can help train businesses to limit opportunities by altering the environment, whether it be with motion activated lights, noise makers or even landscaping.

More information can be found here.