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New SAFE Navigation Center proposal scales back beds, amps up security

Following weeks of community meetings and public outcry from residents in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood over a proposed Navigation Center there, Mayor London Breed has announced a proposal to scale back the number of beds and provide extra security.

When Breed initially announced plans to build the city’s first SAFE Navigation Center at Seawall Lot 330 in March, the plan included providing up to 225 beds for homeless individuals, as well as 24-hour security at the site.

Breed’s new proposal, crafted with Supervisor Matt Haney who represents the neighborhood, aims to provide 130 beds upon opening, and then slowly increase the number to 200 over a six-month period. That model mirrors how existing centers operate, Breed’s office said.

In addition, the new proposal includes a plan to provide more police officers in the surrounding areas, seven days a week, according to Breed’s office.

The lease for the Navigation Center, located on property owned by the Port of San Francisco, would be up after two years. At that time, the Port Commission would decide whether to renew the lease for an additional two years.

Breed said in a statement:

“We are focused on addressing our homelessness crisis and helping our unhoused residents get the care and shelter they need while also doing our best to address some of the concerns that we have heard from neighbors.”

Breed continued:

“Over the last month, we had heard ideas and feedback from residents and people who live in this area, whether they support the idea or oppose it, and we have incorporated some of those ideas so we can move forward with this SAFE Navigation Center on the Seawall Lot,” she said.

Breed and Haney’s new proposal, released Monday, comes after the city has held more than a dozen meetings with community groups and residents.

Haney said:

“Navigation Centers work because when done right and run well, they result in positive outcomes for both the people they serve and for the neighborhoods where they’re located. The Mayor’s Office and Department of Homelessness have committed to me and to the community that this center will be well-run and safe, and be a true ‘navigation’ center, which effectively transitions people from homelessness into services and housing.”

The Port Commission is scheduled to vote on the new proposal at their next meeting, scheduled for next week on April 23.

Since the location was proposed, many South Beach residents have announced their opposition to the center, citing concerns of increased crime and drug use in the area.

A GoFundMe account, set up by a group calling itself Safe Embarcadero For All for the purpose of retaining legal counsel to stop the center from being built, has raised surpassed its $100,000 goal, raising $101,205 as of Tuesday.

A separate GoFundMe site, set up by proponents of the center calling themselves Safer Embarcadero For All, has also surpassed its goal. As of Tuesday, that account raised $176,015 of its $175,000 goal. According to the account’s organizers, the money would be used to support the Coalition on Homelessness and cover any potential legal costs.

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