Businesses team up to address homelessness on Blackstone

AJ Rassamni says some homeless people are helping pick up trash

FRESNO, Calif. - AJ Rassamni opened up the Great American Car Wash in 2007. He says homeless people have broken into his business countless times.

"One month I got broken in ten times in one month. That's how bad it was," said Rassamni.

Rassamni says the homeless targeted copper.

"They stole a couple times and then we had to put iron instead," said Rassamni.

He's installed window bars, a gated fence and barbwire to protect the place where he makes a living.

Rassamni and other business owners joined forces, creating the Central Blackstone Avenue Area Merchants Association. Meetings are held weekly to improve the area.

"We created relationship between the code enforcer, the merchants in the area and police station. We are working together to keep the area clean," said Rassamni.

Fresno Police says officers have made contact with the homeless hundreds of times. The goal is to offer resources at the Povarello House and Fresno Rescue Mission. If the offender won't comply, they'll face a fine of a thousand bucks or six months in jail. So far only three people have been cited.

In a large bush near Golden State and Barstow our crew found what appeared to be a leftover homeless encampment where one resident says a man lives. Clothes and trash still remain. Rassamni says he's relieved to see progress on Blackstone.

"It's peace of mind. I mean, I know I don't have to worry everyday that somebody's going to break into my business," said Rassamni.


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