Parking lot transforms into homeless navigation center

San Francisco opened a brand new homeless navigation center on Friday near U.S. Highway 101 that was previously used as parking lot by Caltrans.

State and city officials held a ribbon cutting at the Division Circle Navigation Center that will provide services for up to 125 homeless individuals. The site is at 224-242 South Van Ness Ave.

The City opened its first navigation center in March 2015. Navigation centers help the homeless connect with case managers that can help provide services such as jobs, health services, and leading them towards housing.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement that it was not just important to get the homeless indoors, but to also find them permanent housing:

“This Navigation Center will help us get people off the streets and transitioned into permanent housing.”

The City was able to lease out the parking lot owned by Caltrans thanks in part to Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

Ting authored Assembly Bill 857 which allows the leasing of Caltrans land for emergency food and shelters. He also secured $10 million for The City in last year’s state budget to open two navigation centers.

Ting said in a statement:

“Navigation Centers combine shelter with services and have been a critical tool in moving people toward permanent housing. However, resources are limited. California has stepped up to support San Francisco so we can attack this homelessness crisis together.”

As of June, city officials said navigation centers have transitioned 485 people into permanent housing, found temporary housing for 91 people and connected 1,065 individuals with The City’s Homeward Bound program, a program that helps connects individuals with family members or friends.