The city's second Navigation Center for the homeless has officially opened at 12th and Market.
In March, Mayor Ed Lee announced plans to replicate the success of the first Navigation Center in the Mission by working with Tenderloin-based nonprofit Community Housing Partnership to renovate the Civic Center Hotel at 20 12th St.
At the time, the single-room occupancy hotel—well-known for its squalid condition and incidences of crime both in and around the building—was already home to 53 low-income residents, and slated for a major redevelopment in the next two to three years. Now, 93 of the hotel's vacant rooms will be used to temporarily house and help homeless residents who move on to permanent housing.
Yesterday's grand opening celebration for "Navigation Center 2" came just two weeks after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to open a total of six new Navigation Centers over the next two years.
The Chronicle reported that 55 individuals have already moved into the Civic Center Hotel over the past few months, leaving roughly 40 rooms left to fill. Some of those rooms will be reserved for case managers and counselors, who will help residents stabilize their lives.
According to a press release from the mayor's office, the original Navigation Center at 1950 Mission St., run by Episcopal Community Services, has served 550 clients in a little over a year. Of those individuals, 80 percent have either moved into "stable supportive housing" or been reunited with friends and family.
Jeff Kositsky, head of the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, also announced a new initiative: the Encampment Response Team. They'll be responsible for tracking encampments, conducting outreach and placing people in shelters, and communicating with neighbors, in cooperation with the Mayor’s new Fix-It Team, the Homeless Outreach Team, Public Works, Public Health, SFPD, SFFD and Rec and Park.
“The new Encampment Response Team will ensure that our residents living in encampments receive the shelter and services they deserve, and that our neighborhoods remain safe and healthy for families and everyone. The department is deeply committed to this initiative, and to addressing encampments in San Francisco,” Kositsky said in the release.
Despite the new shelter and the new outreach team, finding permanent housing for the homeless is still one of the city's top priorities, Kositsky told Chron.