Press Release

Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center proposed by Mayor London Breed to move forward

Board of Supervisors rejects an environmental appeal against the SAFE Navigation Center, clearing the way for construction of 200 new shelter beds

The Board of Supervisors voted today to reject two California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) appeals that were filed against the proposed Embarcadero Shelter Access for Everyone (SAFE) Navigation Center. Mayor Breed proposed building the SAFE Navigation Center in March 2019, and the San Francisco Port Commission approved the project on April 23, 2019. With the Port Commission’s approval and the CEQA process now complete, the City can begin construction on the SAFE Navigation Center at Seawall Lot 330.

“Our City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis, and we can’t keep delaying projects like this one that will help fix the problem,” said Mayor London Breed. “When we have people suffering on our streets, we need to be able to provide them with the care and services they need. This SAFE Navigation Center will help us do that and I am committed to making this site work for the people who need help and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The SAFE Navigation Center, to be located on the Embarcadero just south of the Bay Bridge, will provide 200 temporary shelter beds for unsheltered individuals, and will help get people off the streets and connected to the social services and care they need. This project is a key part of the Mayor’s commitment to open 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of 2020.

SAFE Navigation Centers build off of the best practices of existing Navigation Centers while making them more scalable and sustainable. They include temporary residential facilities, onsite support services, and provide a critical alternative to unsheltered homelessness. SAFE Navigation Centers welcome partners and pets, provide safe storage for belongings, 24/7 access, and trauma-informed care. There are currently six Navigation Centers in San Francisco, providing approximately 520 beds.

“Creating new shelter beds is critical to the City’s response to homelessness and we thank the Board of Supervisors for their support,” said Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

“I am looking forward to working with our City partners, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, San Francisco Public Works, the San Francisco Police Department, the service provider and neighbors to make sure that the Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center is a success,” said Elaine Forbes, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco. “We are proud to be able to support the City’s efforts to address homelessness with compassion, providing shelter, and access to critical services and housing at the Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center because homelessness is harmful to everyone.”

The City engaged in extensive community outreach for this project. The outreach included:

  • One-on-One meetings with community members,
  • Port Commission informational hearing,
  • 2 City-sponsored large community meetings,
  • 10 neighborhood working group meetings,
  • Fisherman’s Wharf Advisory Group, Central Waterfront Advisory Group, and the Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group Meetings,
  • 6 Homeowner Association meetings,
  • Navigation Center tours for community members and neighborhood organizations,
  • Meeting with the South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association,
  • Meeting with District 6 Community Planners.

The City incorporated feedback from these community meetings into the plans for the SAFE Navigation Center. In response to community input, the SAFE Navigation Center will begin with 130 beds, which mirrors other existing Navigation Centers. The SAFE Navigation Center will ramp-up to add an additional 70 beds over six months to reach a total of 200 beds. Additionally, the area surrounding the Navigation Center will receive an increased presence of beat officers. The City will establish a community advisory committee to evaluate the program once the Center is opened. The lease for the SAFE Navigation Center will be for an initial two years, after which the Port Commission will have the option to extend the lease for an additional two years.

During the first two years of operation, the City will issue quarterly reports on the unsheltered homeless count in the outreach zone, cleaning operations, crime statistics, and program utilization and outcomes.

San Francisco Public Works will begin construction on the project this summer and the SAFE Navigation Center should open by the end of the year.