Nearly 2,000 unhoused individuals are safe and warm as shelter-in-place hotel guests, according to a December 30 letter from the Department of Homlessness and Supportive Housing (DHHS). That sounds great, until you consider that San Francisco has around 8,000 unsheltered people, in outdoor conditions that have created a COVID-19 spike among the homeless population. The city hopes to put some degree of dent in that, and soon, as the SF Examiner reports that two new Navigation Centers will open in late January and early February.
The Bayview Navigation Center will be at 1925 Evans Avenue, in what is currently a parking lot owned by the California Department of Transportation. That one has been in the works for a year and a half, as Curbed reported, and is slated to open “toward the end of this month” as a DHHS spokesperson tells the Examiner.
District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton has been pushing for a location there, as his district is second only to the Tenderloin in the size of its homeless population. “During this pandemic and prior to the COVID-19 health crisis, we were seeing a rise of people living in the streets in D10,” Walton told the Examiner. “This will allow us to provide additional shelter to the community, while we focus on providing permanent housing for the long-term.”
The Polk Gulch Navigation Center will be at 888 Post Street (at Hyde Street), and it too was supposed to already have opened, but the pandemic sent things sideways. That one will be called the Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center, with the “TAY” standing for “transitional-age youth,” which is generally considered between the ages of 16 and 24.
Both will have substantially fewer beds than originally planned, because of COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Lower Polk TAY Navigation Center will host just 43 beds, though it was originally supposed to have 75. The 203-bed Bayview site has been trimmed down to only 115 beds.
The entire Navigation Center wish list was not fulfilled, though. Per the Examiner, a proposed 33 Gough Street site (at Otis and McCoppin Streets) will instead only be a tent-facility Safe Sleeping Site.