Merchants along Los Angeles’ famed Olvera Street say an increase in homelessness coupled with an infestation of rats are threatening their livelihoods.
Video shared with KTLA shows rodents crawling along streets, sidewalks and under vendor stands, scavenging for food. Dead rats are everywhere, merchants say.
“Part of the problem here is there is such a bureaucracy the way the city operates,” Edward Flores, owner of Juanita’s Café, told us. “There doesn’t seem to be any staffers here that are tasked with gathering them up.”
Homeless tents and the surrounding areas, Flores says, are filled with food and human waste, and that has allowed the rat population to boom in an area frequented by tourists looking to dine and shop.
Many vendors say they barely survived the pandemic and can’t afford any more setbacks.
“They need to be more aggressive about this and try to think outside of the box,” says Flores. “They also need to move the homeless out of here. They’ve moved some out but there’s no obligation for them to leave.”
City leaders could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Olvera Street is known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles” and features dozens of restaurants, food stands, shops and vendor carts among buildings that date back to the 1800s.