With the hotly contested Embarcadero Navigation Center having just opened its doors, and the former Center on Mission having shuttered, there are now seven operating Navigation Centers in the city, concentrated in Supervisorial Districts 6, 9 and 10, the three districts within which roughly 75 percent of the city’s homeless population is currently estimated to reside.

With that in mind, Supervisors Matt Haney (District 6), Hillary Ronen (District 9) and Shamann Walton (District 10), along with neighboring Supervisor Dean Preston (District 5), will announce a renewed push to require Navigation Centers to be built in every Supervisorial District this afternoon, noting that “the remaining neighborhoods that account for nearly a quarter of the homeless population make up less than 4% of temporary shelter and housing.”

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by L'UrbanistaSF

    I think that in fairness to the residents near each NavCenter there should be three beat cops assigned to each center to be a 24 hour presence over 3 shifts every day.

    • Posted by Pal

      How about 30?

    • Posted by Martin

      I believe there are 4 at the Embarcadero Center, and it’s a reasonable trade-off to get neighbor’s buy in. Furthermore, each neighborhood should have a dedicated number to help homeless in their respective radius.

      Both of those I believe are true for the Embarcadero Center, but more highlighting of it wouldn’t hurt.

  2. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    SF Supervisors: every jurisdiction must be forced to be part of the solution.

    Also SF Supervisors: voted 10-1 against SB-50 because of local control.

  3. Posted by sparky-b

    So if you put one is the 8 other districts as the next step, then the areas that have 75% of the homeless population will have 47% and it won’t even out until there are 24 navigation centers in districts 6, 9 and 10 (with 32 city wide).

    I could see the push resulting in 3 more added city wide in other districts to even out the math. That is going to be a huge fight. Especially with D9 only having 1 and trying to get them built elsewhere.

  4. Posted by mary_jane_jacobs

    Continuing to put services where the needs are concentrated seems like a more logical response than the proposed opposite. Either that or set one up next to every supervisor’s personal residence.

    • Posted by hundo_p

      “Either that or set one up next to every supervisor’s personal residence.”

      This is by FAR the best idea. Also include the Mayor, District Attorney, and Police Chief.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      You clearly didn’t grasp the fact that the parts of the city with 25% of the homeless population have 0% of the nav centers.

      • Posted by jimbo

        it makes no sense in the districts with <300 homless people. Using that metric of 300, there should be 12 in district 6, 6 in districts 10, …. 1 in some districts and none if 4 districts

  5. Posted by hundoman

    Many large cities have one of more down trodden areas … only in SF would our esteemed elected officials strive to make sure every neighborhood in San Francisco has a large shared homeless population and all the quality of life issues this group brings to the areas they inhabit.

    • Posted by jimbo

      agree. this is ludicrous for some districts. you would in fact be importing homeless to those districts. the embarcadero NC was needed because there are and have been a lot of homeless on or near the embarcadero for decades. lets see the map of where the other 25% are and be strategic about where the NC goes. The mission and SOMA need 5-6 NCs there as well as the streets are littered with encampments. Meanwhile our BoS continue to vote anti-housing. total hypocrits

      • Posted by SocketSite

        lets see the map of where the other 25% are…

        As a general rule of thumb, you might want to take a peek, perhaps prior to commenting, at our piece and data above.

  6. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    There’s a nice, level parking lot near the Forest Hill station where that Church wanted to build senior housing. It would make a perfect spot for a Nav Center.

  7. Posted by Josiah

    I think we should take every empty lot where the horrible SF NIMBY’s have stopped a housing development and turn it into a Navigation Center. Let the NIMBY’s deal with the consequences of their actions directly.

  8. Posted by Spork

    Yes that makes sense. Build and staff a bunch of navigation centers in areas without any significant homeless population, then we can pay the employees to twiddle their thumbs with our tax dollars.

    • Posted by hunter

      If you had read the article, you’d see that 25% of the homeless are outside the districts where we have nav centers. Last count was around 8K homeless in SF, leaving ~2000 folks *without* nearby shelters in their districts. A few nav centers (of which the largest offers 200 beds) are hardly going to be unused. Get real.

      • Posted by Spork

        The point is to put them where there are homeless people – in the 25% where there are a density of homeless people, not just one in each district out of some sense of fairness. The remaining 25% aren’t evenly distributed in each remaining district you understand right? Get real indeed.

        • Posted by jimbo

          homelss shelters should be where the homeless are. The mission, TL and SOMA are the highest need by far. the haight is another, so D5 makes a lot of sense.

          • Posted by marco

            Why not put the NAV centers in other neighborhoods. Build it and they will come. I mean seriously, we commute to work to live in other neighborhoods, why can’t the homeless.

  9. Posted by Scott Parsons

    [Navigation Centers] are the dumbest idea ever. Just a bigger hole in which to dump the hundreds of millions of dollars burned up by the Homeless Industrial Complex, in a rush to make SF the vagrant capital of the world. They are winning! We have more vagrants than ever!

    • Posted by Anonymous

      Hey here’s an idea: Let’s do absolutely nothing, let it get worse, and then have you personally deal with 100% of the consequences. That seems fair given your preference for complete and total inaction.

      • Posted by jimbo

        let’s force treatment on addicts and deal with the underlying problem. Recovery 1st works. Housing 1st is a failure.

        • Posted by gorkem

          Any estimates on how much this would cost to do this in a humane way?

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            I encourage everyone who has commented on this and the previous threads on this topic to take a close reading of this past Spring’s S.F. Chronicle piece Jeffrey’s journey: An addict’s trail from street to cell. The subject of the piece only managed to get clean when he left the enabling environment of San Francisco and got arrested in San Mateo. He was forced to go “cold turkey” in prison.

            Obviously this is just one person’s story and not a scientific study, but I think it’s quite telling that the subject, who grew up in a comfortable middle-class home and early on in his addiction was covered by insurance, failed to get clean after seven attempts at rehab.

            Since multiple attempts are common, “dealing with the underlying problem” would be an expensive proposition. I still agree, however, that “Housing 1st is a failure”, because the addict just gets housed and then goes on using once they are housed, which is immoral and insulting to the taxpayer funding the housing.

          • Posted by Spencer

            there is another piece in the chronicle by Heather Knight this past week (dec 20) about a man, Thomas Wolfe, who finally got sober in a Salvation Army center (it is free and they have free beds now). He was homeless and using for a few years and says everyone on the streets was an addict, and no one was going to go voluntarily to rehab. Housing First is a horrible and disastrous policy. Sobriety 1st should be the goal. he claims the city was enabling him and others, which most of us know. he is now helping the city and maybe they will listen.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          Where do you think ongoing treatment occurs? Spoiler: it’s in a facility, many of which run on inpatient models.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      If San Francisco indeed has “more vagrants than ever” and is “the vagrant capital of the world”, it’s not because of the Navigation Centers. It’s due to City of Boise vs. Martin, the 2018 federal appeals court decision that found it unconstitutional to punish people for sleeping in public areas when there aren’t enough shelter beds or housing available as an alternative. To be clear, we had a homeless crisis before 2018, but that court ruling made a potential law enforcement crackdown by a future less liberal mayoral administration impossible.

      The idea behind the Navigation Centers, even if you think they enable continued recreational drug dependency, is to get people off the street by (eventually) connecting homeless people to housing.

      • Posted by heynonnynonny

        A recent chart showed DC and Boston as having more homeless per capita than SF, but SF has the highest on the west coast. The big difference between the northeast and the west coast cities was that on the west coast more than 50% of the homeless are unsheltered while in the northeast it’s less than 5%.

        • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

          Of course, DC and Boston aren’t covered by the ruling from the the Ninth Circuit I cited above. I don’t think that explains the difference between those cities and the portion of unsheltered homeless, however, as it it was probably that way prior to 2018.

          The New York Times reported last summer that over the previous two years, homelessness in San Francisco increased 17 percent. In Alameda County, the number of homeless residents jumped 43 percent over the same time period.

  10. Posted by Michael

    I firmly believe that every District should share the financial burden, with credits [given] to the neighborhoods in which a center is built, but the punitive approach of demanding that a center be built in every District – irrespective of the homeless population/census – is foolhardy, impractical and a political stunt.

    • Posted by Hunter

      There’s nothing punitive about this. It’s a supervisor-led effort to get the Dept of Homelessness to actually invest in neighborhoods beyond the eastern half of SF. And if you did the math, 25% of SF’s homeless (~8K people at last count) live in districts without nav centers. That’s 2000 HOMELESS PEOPLE who are not near nav centers…so yes, every district could use at least one if not more.

      • Posted by Michael

        The “2000 HOMELESS PEOPLE who are not near nav centers” aren’t evenly distributed across the other eight districts. Look at the map above, only three of the districts without a Navigation Center (3,5,8) have a homeless count that totals over 200 people and those three border districts 6 and 9.

        Do you think it makes sense to build and staff a center in district 4 to serve a homeless population of 34? Or the 99 in district 11?

        • Posted by Anonymous

          Yes. It’s a meritless supposition on your part that you can’t have right sized facilities.

          • Posted by Michael

            Of course you can – and should – have right-sized facilities, but the right size for a facility in an area with a homeless population of under 100 is no facility at all. Other than being a punitive ‘if we have one, you should have one too’ measure, the economics don’t make sense.

          • Posted by jimbo

            a small facility in an area with 100 is a disservice to the thousands of homeless in other districts. district 6 and 10 need the most work here. numebr of centers should be proportional to homeless

  11. Posted by parklife

    If we’re concerned about placing the Nav centers where the homeless “live”, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to locate them where the affected persons used to be housed? The current allocation of where the homeless “live” is to a great degree a function of where they ended up, either from lack of enforcement on street camping or availability of services/drugs.

  12. Posted by dashcameo

    One man’s import is another man’s export.
    Spread the love, spread the pain, focus the Supes and the mayor on SF reality and solutions.

  13. Posted by Dm

    The chart above shows “sheltered and unsheltered” homeless. It would be interesting to see the chart of “unsheltered” only. Is there one?

  14. Posted by Citizenkarma

    After 25 years of SoMa and Downtown observation and also listening to viewpoints of neighbors, it is common knowledge that the magnets for “homeless” are access to drugs, and opportunities to easily acquire goods and money through panhandling, delivering drugs or stealing. The present location of Nav Centers further enable and protract this lifestyle. They need to be relocated away from these opportunities to rebuild their lives.

    • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

      Now THAT is the best argument I’ve heard for distributing Navigation Centers to far-flung districts. It will still be a hard sell for people in those districts, but I tend to agree with you.

      • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

        Many, if not most, of the homeless have cellular phones or access to them nowadays, and the subset of the homeless who are drug addicts can call their drug dealer from anywhere and most drug dealers will deliver to anywhere in S.F. there isn’t an expected strong police presence. So anywhere in The City is effectively an open drug market.

        A Navigation Center physically located away from immediate opportunities to acquire drugs and proximity to physical goods to steal in order to fund drug habits will only have a marginal impact on homelessness. The people in districts not currently “magnets for “homeless” know this and will (and should) resist having Navigation Centers opened in their neighborhoods.

        A better approach would be to emphasize drug treatment and sobriety prior to providing taxpayer-subsidized housing to the homeless.

  15. Posted by dashcameo

    Yes, a nav center smack in the middle of the sunset. Good luck panhandling there!

    • Posted by hundoman

      What about Navigation Centers for: Saint Francis Wood, Outer Richmond / Sea Cliff Area, and Pac Heights … I mean there could be a homeless there too and these well off areas of SF would surely welcome these centers being built their based on their political leanings.

  16. Posted by john

    OK I even question the accuracy of the homeless count. 34 in the Central/Outer Sunset. GIVE ME A BREAK. Go out there. Way outer Sunset by Judah. Great Highway, GG Park. Unless I see the same ones traversing around all the time, there is no way there are only 34

    • Posted by Citizenkarma

      I too do not trust these numbers. They defy visual evidence and seem rigged.

  17. Posted by Anonymous

    This is stupidity at its best. Bandaids without addressing the root issues. And yeah, let’s bring homeless people into the neighborhoods that pay the taxes that fund this city.

  18. Posted by jimmythekid

    It seems only appropriate, that in areas with low/no homeless; we simply bus the homeless population to those areas. We thereby achieve an equitable burden throughout the city. Pacific Heights navigation center I like it.!

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