“Enough is enough.”
Those are the words of a San Bernardino business owner who is frustrated by the homeless crisis. Max Zahir, owner of Celebrities Sports Grill, said his restaurant has been the target of many crimes, including arson and vandalism.
That’s why he is threatening to take matters into his own hands. Zahir recently bought a shuttle bus so he can bus the homeless away from his restaurant.
“They lit them on fire here, brand new furniture that was supposed to have been for my restaurant,” Zahir said. “I’m extremely frustrated, because we pay tax.”
In video posted to social media, Zahir issued a demand to the city.
“You have two weeks to take care of this homeless or I will,” Zahir said, explaining his plan to deploy his shuttle bus. “I will simply offer them a ride, free food, and whatever means necessary so they willingly get in the bus and I’ll drop them where they came from.”
But the mayor of San Bernardino is asking him for patience.
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“We have to do something about it, and we are taking steps,” Mayor Helen Tran said.
Tran said the homeless crisis is one of the city’s top priorities and plans are in the works to resolve it, including a new navigation center that will house 200 homeless while providing services to help with mental illness, substance abuse and employment.
“Make sure everyone is safe, everyone is housed and there’s not a lot of disruptions in our community,” Tran said.
Tran said during last year’s count, the homeless population rose 20% to roughly 1,300.
She plans to decrease those figure in the coming months, but Zahir is still skeptical.
“Every mayor, every politician has been making the same promise,” Zahir said.
But mayor Tran said things are already in motion.
On Jan. 26 the city will do a new homeless count and on Feb. 1, she is declaring the homeless crisis as a state of emergency.