"This is about helping people," Breed said at a news conference. "Not only to help them get off the streets, but to help them succeed in life."
The center is in a parking lot at the corner of Beale and Bryant streets. It will house 200 beds and the goal is to try and alleviate the problem of homelessness along the Embarcadero.
The project has been controversial from the start.
The mayor has faced opposition from neighbors living near the new center, who expressed concerns about crime and other problems.
The group, Safe Embarcadero for All, spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars, trying to stop the construction of the center, in court.
Emma Ivancic, who lives in Daly City, said the situation is complex.
“It's hard no matter where you're going to put it," she said. "There are always going to be residential areas and it’s going to be an issue, no matter what. So I don’t know. It is what it is.”
Neighborhood concerns were heightened after a video of Austin James Vincent attacking a woman in an apartment building nearby were widely circulated. Vincent is mentally ill and homeless, although he is not connected to the navigation center.
In order to order to address neighbors' safety concerns, police say they will have an extra police presence in the area.
For his part, Ben Lawson said he supports the center.
"I always see homeless people in this area," he said. "I’ll probably pass some on my way into work. I hope they'll reach out to those people so they have a place to live.”
The first residents will start moving into the center by the end of the month.