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Mayor Lee Announces Plans to Increase Funding And Capacity for Navigation Centers and Shelters

Mayor’s announcement comes at opening of San Francisco’s third Navigation Center

Mayor Edwin M. Lee celebrated the opening of the new Dogpatch Navigation Center today by announcing plans to increase funding and add more beds for residents experiencing homelessness as part of his proposed budget. With the opening of this new center and more in the pipeline, the number of beds at Navigation Centers will increase by nearly 150 percent by the end of next fiscal year.

“We are responding to the situations on our streets by taking bold steps to move our residents into settings where they can reclaim their lives,” said Mayor Lee. “We need our streets to be clean, safe and livable, and we need to treat our residents dealing with homelessness in a manner that is compassionate and responsive. By increasing funding for our shelter systems and Navigation Centers, we are working on solutions to accomplish both those goals.”

Mayor Lee joined City officials and community leaders to open the Dogpatch Navigation Center, which will have 64 beds available for people experiencing chronic homelessness who were previously living in encampments.

“It is a testament to the cooperation and optimistic pragmatism of the neighborhood and small business community here in Dogpatch that we could make this Navigation Center happen,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district is home to the Dogpatch Navigation Center. “While the City must continue to collaborate with residents across all districts to alleviate this crisis, District 10 should be proud of its leadership and problem solving.”

“Opening the Dogpatch Navigation Center has been a team effort,” said Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “I want to thank the Mayor for his leadership and for believing in this work and all of our partners who have helped make today a reality – Supervisor Cohen, Public Works, the Port, Episcopal Community Services, Providence Foundation and so many others who have helped us along the way and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we help people on their journeys out of homelessness."

Currently, the City has two open Navigation Centers, with plans to open four more in the next year. The City opened its first Navigation Center at 1950 Mission Street in 2015, debuting a low-barrier, low-threshold model for engaging people living on the streets with services and access to housing exits from homelessness. In June 2016, the City’s second Navigation Center opened in the Civic Center Hotel.

Along with the Dogpatch Navigation Center, the Mayor has added $2.9 million in annual funding for the Department of Public Health’s Hummingbird Navigation Center, which will house 15 beds and be located on the campus of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. A fourth Navigation Center is set to open at 1515 South Van Ness Avenue on June 19, adding 120 beds, and another Navigation Center in the SoMa District will begin operations in early 2018 with an estimated 125 beds.

As a result of the additional Navigation Centers, the number of available beds will increase by 149 percent, expanding from 167 beds to 416 over the next year. Annual funding for Navigation Centers will increase by 215 percent, from $4.9 million to $15.3 million.

Between traditional shelter systems and Navigation Centers, there are currently 1,826 beds in San Francisco available for residents experiencing homelessness. But with investments made by the Mayor in the upcoming budget that number will increase to 2,105, a 15 percent gain. That includes funding for 30 new traditional shelter beds for families experiencing homelessness. Overall funding for traditional shelters and Navigation Centers will increase 44 percent, from $25.9 million to $37.3 million during the next fiscal year.

Navigation Centers play a critical role in the City’s homeless services system—creating an entry-point for people on the streets and in encampments who have not been able to engage services through the traditional shelter system. Navigation Centers move people off the streets and out of tents. Navigation Center guests have access to intensive case management, critical service connection to healthcare, entitlement benefits, and drug treatment programs.

“This Navigation Center sets a great example of how we can use creative solutions to address the challenge of homelessness in our city,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, whose organization designed and built the Dogpatch Navigation Center. “We turned a stretch of the public right of way into a safe and welcoming village where people who have been living on the streets in often dangerous situations can sleep, eat, shower, avail themselves to services and get back on more solid ground.”

Key to the success of Navigation Centers is access to new housing and connections to existing services. Due to increased resources in the last budget, nearly 80 percent of residents who stayed in Navigation Centers successfully transitioned into permanent housing, safe temporary placements or reunited with family members.