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Mayor’s Bayview Navigation Center plan gets mixed response

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Jerold Chinn/SFBay
A row of empty beds lined up inside the new Bryant Navigation Center in San Francisco, Calif, on Wednesday, January, 9, 2019.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Monday announced plans to build the city’s latest Navigation Center in the Bayview District, providing up to 200 beds for the neighborhood’s homeless.

The SAFE Navigation Center being proposed at 129 Evans St., currently a parking lot, would be the city’s third navigation center constructed on land leased to the city by Caltrans.

Breed said in a statement:

“We have to continue to move quickly to build more shelters and housing throughout our city because there are too many people suffering on our streets.”

“We especially need more shelters in neighborhoods like the Bayview where there aren’t currently enough resources to serve the people who need them.”

District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, who represents the Bayview, said he’s “extremely proud” to back Breed’s proposal.

This year’s Point-in-Time Count found 1,889 people experiencing homeless in the neighborhood, but only 455 emergency shelter beds.

Jeff Kositsky, director of the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said:

“District 10 has the second highest number of individuals experiencing homelessness on any given night.”

Kositsky continued:

“Additionally, 37 percent of San Francisco’s homeless population identifies as Black of African American, while comparatively the city’s general population is only 6 percent. It is vital to increase capacity for this disproportionately impacted community.”

The new center would replace the 125 overnight mats currently offered at Providence Church, and add 75 more beds. The center also falls in line with Breed’s goal of opening 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of 2020. According to Breed’s office, an advisory committee made up of residents, merchants, faith leaders and advocates from the area will work with the city to develop and implement the proposed center.

HSH will hold two public community meetings for the project, happening on Aug. 8 at 4301 Third St. at 7:30 p.m. and on Aug. 19 at the Southeast Community Facility at 1800 Oakdale Ave. at 6 p.m.

Malia Cohen, former District 10 supervisor and current chair of the California State Board of Equalization, wrote on Twitter expressing pushback against the announcement.

Cohen wrote:

“Good Lord, are you kidding!? Another Navigation site, how much responsibility must D10 shoulder when it comes to homelessness and supportive services?”

Monday’s announcement comes just weeks after a group of residents in the city’s South Beach neighborhood filed a lawsuit to halt the construction of a Navigation Center there.

The suit, filed by the group Safe Embarcadero for All, alleged that the city hastily approved the 200-bed center without seeking approval from the California State Lands Commission, which they say is required since the center would create housing on property owned by the Port of San Francisco.

The suit is seeking a temporary restraining order and stay to keep the development from progressing while the case is being litigated.

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