San Francisco supervisors propose homeless shelters in all city districts

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In the continuing effort to help solve rampant homelessness in San Francisco, a city supervisor proposed an idea that would require all of the city’s 11 districts host navigation centers, or shelters for the homeless. 

“What I’ve introduced today is an ordinance that would require a navigation center in every district in San Francisco,” said District 6 Supervisor Matthew Haney. 

If approved, the districts would have to comply during a time period that spans 30 months. Haney said this would help spread the burden of remedying homeless issues across all areas of the city.%INLINE% 

Currently, there are six navigation centers, but only across three San Francisco districts. 

Haney’s legislation is co-sponsored by three other district supervisors. 

“We have a citywide crisis. A lot of my colleagues are saying they’re open to one. They know that they have a problem. We want to see the board of supervisors step up and say we’re all in this together,” said Haney. 

The plan comes amid the controversial proposal to build and open a SAFE Navigation Center on the site of a current parking lot on The Embarcadero, south of Bryant Street. 

“We agree the navigation model works. The mayor is for it [and] the board is for it. Yet we seem to only be building them in one small part of the city” Haney said, just before heading into a Board of Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday where he would introduce his legislation. 

Wallace Lee, who lives two blocks away from the proposed SAFE Navigation Center launched an organization called SAFE Embarcadero. The group is raising funds to take legal action against the city should the shelter be approved. 

“If you go look at the other navigation centers, there are chop shops showing up in front of them, open drug use, encampments. A lot of problems we feel like we don't want in our neighborhood,” Lee said. 

In an effort to alleviate concerns from neighbors, Mayor London Breed modified her proposal by reducing the number of beds that would be housed in the shelter from more than 200 to 130.

“This was really in response to their feedback. We’ve shortened the lease terms,” said Mayor Breed on Tuesday morning.  

But the reduction in bed size may not be permanent because there would be the option of installing an additional 70 over a six-month period, putting Mayor Breed closer to her goal of 1,000 additional shelter beds in the city by 2020. 

“All we’re asking for is a chance to let this navigation center happen and they will see a difference in that particular neighborhood with the number of homeless people who are all along The Embarcadero,” Breed said. 

The land on which the city would like to build the SAFE Navigation Center is owned by the Port of San Francisco, which votes on the proposal on April 23rd.