A newly opened homeless resource center might be the right thing for Philadelphia's most vulnerable population. However, nearby businesses say it has brought them nothing but trouble.
It's a good day at the "D-tails & D-Signs" hair salon in the underground Suburban Station and 2 Penn Center Transportation complex. No homeless person has thrown a liquor bottle through the window or fondled themselves in front of customers or urinated on the wall.
But salon owner Monica Hadley says the good days are few and far between.
"I can't tolerate this," she tells FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "I'm losing my customers. I've lost 75% of my personal customers."
The recent opening of the Hub of Hope-- a homeless resource center just down the hallway--has says Hadley brought increased numbers of people causing problems.
"You have mental health, with street drugs and alcohol," she said. "That's total chaos waiting to happen!"
Police patrols are frequent in the complex, but it is a public space and simply rousting the homeless is not always an option.
Business owners say not all the troublemakers appear to be homeless, but that hardly matters-- it's the behavior that is scaring off customers.
"A lot of these people start panhandling," said nearby shoe store owner Harry Shanti, "And that harasses the people when they go to buy. And that does affect all business."
Hadley says her female customers have stopped coming in-- they simply don't want to deal with the hassle.
As for her stylists?
Monte Bradley says he spends too much of his time rousting troublemakers from around their front door:
"The customers, the tourists--everyone-- they're frightened to come back here because of the homeless people that lay back here among the garbage, the urine, the feces."
Hadley says she moved her business underground after 30 years of running salons all over Center City.
She thought this place would be good for business.
But the Hub of Hope, had crushed hers.
"I am at the end of my rope," she says. I just can't tolerate this and not get something done.
Spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Department of Health and Human Services says they were unaware of the business owners' complains because they likely never made it to the right office. She says the city is aware of the problem now and will take action.