Gym owner says homeless problem shut down business

Posted at 5:51 PM, Oct 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-14 09:48:25-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A downtown business owner says the homeless problem forced him to close his doors on Friday. Undisputed Gym saw a big decline in membership and the deadly hepatitis A outbreak may have made it worse. 

The East Village gym is normally filled with boxers, fighters, and members who call it home. The outside streets are a different story. 

"On a daily basis, there might be someone just littering," said owner Joel Rocco. "Yesterday, there was a guy that started unbuckling his pants right over here where the tree is."

He says the homeless problem is forcing him to shut down. 

"Members don’t want to join a gym where members come up to the front and they see someone smoking crack, they see someone going to the bathroom."

He says the problem isn't new, but the hepatitis A outbreak made it worse. 

"It's too little too late," said Rocco. "And it's terrible that it took a disease like this for people to realize that we had a huge issue down here."

The problem extends to other downtown businesses also. 

"They were losing business as well because of people camped out right on that sidewalk right there," said Rocco. "As they build around the neighborhood, there's cranes around my block, everyone's getting pushed this way."

He calls his more than 300 members family. Although his doors are closed, he found a way to make sure those members are still taken care of. He reached out to the CEO of Victory MMA & Fitness in Point Loma who will be accepting all of those members free of charge.