LOCAL business owners and residents are furious over a homeless encampment in a plush part of NYC.
Junk discarded by the rich people who fled during the peak of coronavirus was reportedly used to erect the huge camp in Manhattan's Chelsea district.
The New York Post reported that around 20 people are now living along West 24th Street and Sixth Avenue – just one block from the landmark Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park.
On Thursday, The Sun spotted a man sifting through discarded items in the homeless encampment, where occupants have allegedly been involved in drug use, prostitution and violence.
Now, many residents and nearby vendors have declared the area to be unsafe and demanded that New York City officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio take action.
Last month, de Blasio vowed to resolve the situation but NYC's Skid Row is still a reality for locals.
A local resident who gave his name as Edan said he wanted the city "to do something and help these people."
"Somebody’s gonna die - it’s a war here," he told The Sun. "It’s killing people, these encampments.
"It’s a cesspool of everything. Crack, dope, crystal, robbery, stealing, beat downs and assaults. This is a war zone and the cops aren't doing s**t about it. The mayor - he’s a dirtbag."
Edan said the residents of the camp steal people's bikes and "whatever they can get their hands on."
"Pushing old men down stairs, stabbing people and shooting people – cops are scared of getting stabbed or shot," Edan said today.
Another local, who works as a dishwasher at a Chilean restaurant, said "the criminal element is taking advantage of police being told to stand down."
"Cops turn up and give people masks and then leave," the worker said, describing the Chelsea district as "total chaos."
"When you have leaders for the city that have no vision for the future it creates chaos," he continued. "De Blasio does not have a plan. Releasing people from shelters onto the streets and it’s creating a problem.
"You have people just released from jail, sexual predators. It does not reflect well on the government."
De Blasio said his office would do "whatever it takes" to address the ongoing issue – but it would appear that the camp has only grown.
Meanwhile, more than 13,000 homeless people have been moved into NYC hotels after being taken out of shelters to stop the spread of COVID-19.
They're living in some luxury hotels in the Garment District and Upper West Side, where they'll stay until there's a vaccine, de Blasio said.
Fewer cops are on the streets since the mayor cut the New York City Police Department (NYPD) budget funding by $1 billion amid Black Lives Matter protests.
In the meantime, wealthy residents – who de Blasio called replaceable "fair weather friends" – took off in droves when the pandemic pummeled New York.
A spokesman for the Department of Social Services said that city agencies have conducted a "full clean-up" at the Chelsea location twice since the mayor's July 23 press briefing.
The DSS rep said a third clean up would be scheduled and noted that the people living at the encampment have declined services.
The Sun has contacted the Department of Homeless Services under DSS and de Blasio's office for comment.
Last month, the NYPD's Homeless Outreach Unit was disbanded and resulted in 85 police officers being reassigned amid rising shootings.
On Wednesday, a Sanitation Department car visited the area, the New York Post reported and a worker snapped photos of the scene.
"We clean up and they come back every day," the employee told the paper, noting that his bosses wanted to see pictures of the scene "every day."
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Elsewhere, in the East Village, homeless people are sheltering under scaffolding near St Mark's Place.
They've been cleared away but ultimately return for shelter.
There is another encampment around the Upper West Side near 79th Street and Broadway, which is a cause of concern for locals.