Military veteran’s cleanup company booming with Sacramento’s rising homeless crisis

Military veteran's cleanup company booming with Sacramento's rising homeless crisis

SACRAMENTO — It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it.

A small business owner, who didn’t want to be identified, along the Alhambra corridor in East Sacramento is fuming. She is fed up with the homeless going to the bathroom in front of her shop.

“That’s not good for business,” she said.

What they leave behind leaves a lot to be desired, and she isn’t the only one who feels that way.

“You look at gas stations and some are really bad. Some are terrible,” said Juergen Bleeker.

Bleeker is a military veteran who is taking aim at an ever-growing problem: trash and filth from the homeless piling up at places like gas stations and car washes.

“You got needles, you got drugs, you got paraphernalia everywhere. You got to pick all that up and put it in the garbage, bio bags, and then take it away,” he said.

He’s been doing it since he retired in 2005. He said, since the pandemic, business is up 30%.

“I do about 21 locations right now,” Bleeker said.

Bleeker invested $50,000 in special cleaning equipment and he services clients weekly. He’s doing a job nobody wants to do.

Price is based on the size of the area to clean with nothing over several hundred dollars. Business is booming near homeless encampments.

“You have to find a niche to clean,” Bleeker said.

He’s so busy, he’s had to turn away customers — and he doesn’t see a downturn in sight.

“I’ve talked to some people who have been out there 14 years. They said nobody is going to tell me what to do. I get money from the state: $1,000 a month. Why go somewhere else?” he said.

The problem is that where they are going is leaving business owners frustrated.