San Francisco: Mayor London Breed Tours Brand New 203-Bed SAFE Navigation Center in the Bayview
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San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, and Assemblymember Phil Ting toured the City's newly-completed SAFE Navigation Center at 1925 Evans Avenue in the Bayview. Construction of San Francisco's seventh SAFE Navigation Center was completed this week and staff is preparing to receive guests beginning January 25, 2021.

With the Bayview facility coming online, the City's full portfolio of housing and shelter resources—including COVID-19 shelter-in-place opportunities—supports more than 14,000 unhoused people. Abigail Stewart-Kahn (Interim Director of Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing—HSH), Alaric Degranfinried (Acting Director of Public Works), and Dr. Arelious Walker (Pastor at True Hope Church) were also in attendance.

"This center is another important step in building our capacity to do more and help people out of homelessness," said Mayor Breed. "Even in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, we have found creative ways to tackle the homelessness crisis by supporting more than 14,000 residents and paving the way for long-term housing solutions."

"As we push to bring more resources to our unhoused populations, I'm happy to be a part of bringing our third navigation center to District 10," said President Shamann Walton. "We have more people living on our streets and seeking services due to this pandemic. We will continue to provide shelter and ultimately house people."

"Because Navigation Centers have been successful in moving people off the streets and into housing, I've been a years-long champion of both state funding and legislation to help cities build them. A seventh location in San Francisco is a testament to the important role these shelters play in the homeless crisis and highlight how state and local partnerships are essential on housing issues," said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

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As with the City's other SAFE Navigation Centers, the Bayview facility is designed to offer a safe, healthy, and dignified environment for unhoused individuals, especially those living in encampments.  Amenities at the site include a designed and landscaped courtyard, dedicated outdoor family space, indoor dining areas, community rooms with entertainment and quiet space, computer access, dormitories with personal storage, and a large number of durable showers and restrooms.  The facility is also in full compliance with citywide shelter policies and the City's COVID-19 protocols—which means in the short-term capacity will be reduced to 116 beds until pandemic restrictions are loosed in order to maintain the safety of guests and staff.

"The Navigation Center concept was first tested five years ago in San Francisco's Mission District, and it has proven an effective 'low-barrier' alternative to a traditional shelter," said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director, San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. "The Bayview SAFE Navigation Center will allow homeless individuals, many local to the Bayview, to bring their belongings, significant others, and pets, and then be guided to services, stability and possibly supportive housing."

As the Center is not designed for open referrals or walk-ups, guest eligibility will be managed by HSH in coordination with referral sources such as SFHOT and Coordinated Entry. Initially, referrals will come exclusively from the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, and an outreach zone of surrounding streets has been established to ensure individuals in this area are prioritized for placement. Over time, referral sources will be expanded to include individuals outside the outreach zone, but community referrals will always remain priority.

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Along with HSH leadership and staff, area service provider Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement (BVHP) will help operate the facility and deliver on premise support to those seeking assistance, including health check-ups.

In their role, BVHP will also engage guests and encourage them to participate in support services, which will be determined by the guest's needs and the support priorities established in conjunction with HSH. Support services include, but are not limited to, intake, assessment, service planning, case management, benefits navigation, referrals, group activities, wellness checks, and exit planning. For guests who are Housing Referral status with Adult/Youth/Family Coordinated Entry, case management services will include housing navigation services in collaboration with the Coordinated Entry staff.

"The Bayview has been hit especially hard by the ongoing homeless crisis and this center represents much needed support for our community," said Susan Watson, Interim Executive Director, Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement. "As the City's nonprofit provider partner, we are committed to helping our unhoused friends and neighbors through their challenges and get them the tailored support they need to live safe and healthy lives."

The Bayview center was built on an underutilized 45,000-square-foot parcel owned by Caltrans and leased to the City. It was one of three proposed San Francisco shelter sites whose initial approvals were reversed in a surprising about-face from the Federal Highway Administration in May 2020 under the previous administration. Faced with a California-wide homeless crisis, City and State officials collectively agreed to move forward on the $19.2 million construction despite the federal government's attempts to halt the project.

"This center marks the third land-lease agreement between the City and Caltrans, giving us the opportunity to deliver much needed shelter programs at affordable rates even during the pandemic," said Alaric Degranfinried, Acting Director, San Francisco Public Works. "In addition to supporting the Bayview's unhoused community, the facility's construction and ongoing operations has helped create much needed jobs and Public Works is thankful to have been a part of this process."

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