San Francisco to Open New 75-Bed Navigation Center for Transitional Age Youth
The Navigation Center in Lower Polk is the first of its kind for youth experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. In addition to shelter, it will provide medical and mental health services, workforce development support, and connection to paid career training opportunities
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin today toured the newly completed Lower Polk Navigation Center at 700 Hyde Street, which will provide 75 beds for homeless youth ages 18-24. This is the first Navigation Center in San Francisco specifically designed to serve Transitional Age Youth (TAY). Construction of the Navigation Center was completed this week and staff is preparing to receive guests beginning February 8, 2021.
With the Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center, the City’s full portfolio of housing and shelter resources—including COVID-19 shelter-in-place opportunities—supports more than 14,000 unhoused people each night.
Mayor Breed and Supervisor Peskin were joined by Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Representatives from the on-site providers, 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic and Success Centers, also toured the Navigation Center, along with representatives from Tidewater Capital, which owns the building and is leasing the space to the City.
“This Navigation Center will be a place where young people can seek refuge from the streets and get connected to services and job training,” said Mayor Breed. “As we emerge from this pandemic, we still face a number of the challenges that existed before, including homelessness. This Navigation Center is designed to help get our young people on a better path and avoid an extended period of time on the streets. I’m grateful to all the partners who have worked together to create this Navigation Center and am looking forward to working with them as we continue the important work of advancing our Homelessness Recovery Plan and getting people into housing.”
“This has been a 4 year labor of love and work to open a Navigation Center in District 3,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “I’m delighted that San Francisco is a model for the rest of the state and country with the opening of the City’s first TAY Navigation Center, which will serve the unique needs of young adults before they become permanently entrenched in a cycle of homelessness. I want to acknowledge the Lower Polk community for being so gracious, welcoming, and engaged in this collective effort.”
The Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center advances the City’s Homelessness Recovery Plan and efforts to reduce youth homelessness in San Francisco. Through Rising Up, funding from Proposition C, and the Homelessness Recovery Plan, more permanent exits will be made available to people so that the Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center is able to serve more people every year.
The Rising Up campaign is a public-private partnership launched by Mayor Breed with the goal of raising $35 million to reduce youth homelessness in San Francisco by 50% by 2023. Its approach prevents and addresses youth homelessness through a coordinated response system that has continued to yield results even through the economic and systemic challenges that the non-profit community is facing during the pandemic.
According to the 2019 point-in-time count, 83% of homeless Transitional Age Youth in San Francisco are living unsheltered. Nearly half all of homeless Transitional Age Youth identify as LGBTQ, and homelessness disproportionally affects Transitional Age Youth of color. While 15% of the San Francisco population is Latino, 27% of homeless youth are Latino. While African Americans make up approximately 6% of the San Francisco population, 29% of homeless Transitional Age Youth are African Americans.
The new Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center, housed in a newly renovated three-story building at the corner of 700 Hyde Street and 888 Post Street, will offer a safe, healthy, and dignified environment for unhoused youth. The third floor (top floor) of the building serves as the primary sleeping area for guests and also includes an outdoor lounge area, changing rooms, all-gender shower rooms and bathrooms, laundry, clinic space, and staff offices. The second floor contains community and dining space, a pantry, and meeting rooms. Tidewater Capital, with support and oversight from San Francisco Public Works, managed the design and construction of the new Navigation Center.
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 43 beds until pandemic restrictions are loosened in order to maintain the safety of guests and staff.
“The Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center, the City’s first Navigation Center for young people ages 18-24, demonstrates the City’s commitment to new shelter and services for TAY and prioritizes improving outcomes for the City’s most vulnerable youth,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We thank Mayor Breed and Supervisor Peskin and our nonprofit partner 3rd Street Youth, for supporting a Navigation Center where young people can come indoors with peers, gain safety and access our homelessness response system of care, which has been a long-standing goal for HSH and our nonprofit partners.”
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 the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT) and Coordinated Entry. Initial outreach will focus on youth in the Lower Polk neighborhood who are in need of services.
With funding from HSH, 3rd Street Youth will operate the program and deliver on premise support to those seeking assistance, including health check-ups. 3rd Street Youth 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 may include health services, benefits support, workforce development, and housing assistance.
“The completion of the Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center marks a monumental day for the City’s youth homeless response system, and we’re proud the services offered at this center will be carried out by two Black-led organizations with reputations of delivering services that are youth centered and informed. We hope that news of the Navigation Center might bring hope to the young people of our city who have struggled without stability and comfort during the most devastating health and economic crisis of their generation and ours,” said Joi Jackson-Morgan, MPH, Executive Director, 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic. “It is our mission that this Navigation Center be a dignified solution to the personal, social, and systemic barriers that may stand in their way to fulfilling healthy adult lives. Our future guests will have access to medical and mental health services, mentors, career advisors, education, and paid career training opportunities. Most importantly, they will be part of a community who values and respects them and wants them to succeed.”
Success Centers will provide a holistic continuum of care, enabling guests to complete their education, get ready for work, and find meaningful employment. For nearly 40 years, Success Centers has worked with people living in difficult circumstances and have positively impacted the lives of thousands of individuals, helping them to obtain employment, complete their education, and tap their creative power.
“We are honored to partner with 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic and the Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing on this innovative mayoral initiative,” said Liz Jackson-Simpson, CEO of Success Centers. “While the Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center will offer a stable home for under-housed and unhoused young adults, we see this as be more than a place to lay your head. Our young people will get what they need to thrive, reducing their dependence on social systems.”
“We are honored to partner with Mayor Breed, Supervisor Peskin, and the City of San Francisco in its quest to support our at-risk community members, especially during these difficult times,” said Ross Stackhouse, Principal, Tidewater Capital. “Our youth are the next generation paving the way for this incredible city. As a team dedicated to fostering long-term community growth, we hope to serve this group beyond just providing basic needs and essential resources in ways that positively influence their futures for a better tomorrow.”
“Creating safe and welcoming spaces through smart design and meaningful on-site support has been key to the success of the Navigation Center model,” said Acting San Francisco Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried. “We thank Mayor Breed and Supervisor Peskin for providing us the opportunity to partner with nonprofit organizations and the community to deliver this important addition to San Francisco’s network of shelter and services for some of our most at-risk residents.”