New Navigation Center in San Francisco aimed at homeless youth

San Francisco leaders announced on Wednesday the opening of a new Navigation Center aimed at getting homeless young people on the right path. 

The new location will be at 888 Post Street at the former House of Fans in the city's Lower Polk District. 

It's been closed for five years and now city leaders are ready to use the space to help young people who are homeless and at risk. 

"The whole process was smooth, I had a lot of support at the Nav Center," said 24-year-old Justin Vasquez. "You know, it's not a scary place, everyone is friendly and very welcoming."

City leaders said they want to open a Transitional Age Youth Navigation Center with a dorm on the top floor, city services on the second floor and Goodwill Industries on the first floor, all to help 18 to 24-year-olds get on the path to permanent housing.

Mayor London Breed also announced that the city's goal of 1,000 new shelter beds in San Francisco by 2020 will be met soon. She's also pushing for an additional 2,000 spaces to help combat homelessness. 

"We need to expand those opportunities so that we can really make sure that we make an impact on what you see on the streets," said Breed.

Some neighbors like Jim Cunnane are worried about the New Navigation Center.

All ideas aren't good ideas," said Jim Cunnane. "This is a terrible idea."

Some neighbors like Cunnane are worried, saying they just learned about plans for the new Navigation Center last week when it was announced as a done deal. He's worried it will draw trouble from nearby. 

"Just walk two blocks and you'll see a drug deal. And this is where they're going to put them, thinking that they're going to help them out," said Cunnane. "It's going to bring the Tenderloin up here to our neighborhood, and make this neighborhood less safe."

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said there needs to be accountability. 

"We need to make sure that this is the best-run facility that does not adversely impact the folks that live here," said Peskin. 

Those who've navigated the Navigation Centers say they don't impact neighbors. Justin Vasquez says a Navigation Center helped him get his GED, enroll in college, and find a home. 

"I'm housed. I'm sandwiched between both colleges I want to go to, City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State. It's exciting and I'm happy," said Vasquez.

At a community meeting last week neighbors sounded off saying they were caught off guard, and are still worried about the impact the Navigation Center could have.

There is already another community meeting set up for next week.