San Francisco took another step Wednesday toward opening The City’s first navigation center for homeless transitional age youth between the ages of 18 and 24.
The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee approved a 20-year $49 million lease agreement with the landlord of 888 Post St. to transform the vacant building into a 75-bed center.
According to the Budget and Legislative Analyst report, the lease agreement outlines a $1.5 million annual base rent that will increase 3 percent each year, totaling approximately $49 million. The City also has the option to purchase the building for $29 million before Aug. 1, 2022.
Officials said The City has committed $5 million for one-time costs associated with transforming the building into an operational center. The landlord has also agreed to contribute $5 million to make the site suitable for use.
The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing estimates annual operating costs will run approximately $3.8 million.
Gigi Whitley, the department’s deputy director of finance and administration, said during her presentation to the board that over 1,000 transitional aged youth are experiencing homelessness with 83 percent of them unsheltered.
“They’re living in doorways, parks, vehicles. Wherever they can find shelter on the street.”
Getting to this point has taken quite some time, said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. The supervisor introduced a resolution last year asking the Real Estate Division to look into the property at the intersection of Post and Hyde streets. The building was formerly occupied by The House of Fans retail store.
As part of the proposal, Goodwill Industries will sublease the ground floor and offer programs, including workforce development, to benefit the shelter’s youth.
If approved by the full board, the building will act as the first navigation center established in Peskin’s District 3.
Sara Shortt, director of public policy and community outreach for Community Housing Partnership, said during public comment that dedicating a navigation center to serve The City’s transitional age youth is monumental.
“These young folks deserve a home. They deserve not be wandering on the streets at risk of all sorts of danger to their body and mind. San Francisco will be making a real leadership move by having this very specific opportunity just for our youth who are living on the streets.”
Abigail Stewart-Kahn, a spokesperson for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing told SFBay that once the full board of supervisors approves the lease agreement, construction would begin at the center in late spring with completion expected in the fall.
The department plans to open the center by the end of the year, Steward-Kahn said.
The full board will vote on the lease agreement at its Feb. 25 meeting.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.