SAN FRANCISCO—On August 3, Mayor London Breed announced the opening of Division Circle Navigation Center, which will assist those living on the streets transition indoors and into permanent housing.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, Division Circle will deliver support and services for up to 125 individuals at a time. The Navigation Center is supported by State funds secured by Assemblymember Phil Ting and will occupy underutilized Caltrans land.
“This Navigation Center will help us get people off the streets and transitioned into permanent housing,” said Mayor Breed. “It is not enough to merely get people indoors, we know that we need to provide services to ensure they do not end up back on our streets. As a result of our strong partnership with our State representatives, we will be able help our most vulnerable residents get the care and shelter they need.”
Division Circle is located on land leased from Caltrans that was once used as a parking lot. As a result of AB 857, introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting, San Francisco is able to use underutilized Caltrans locations for emergency food and shelter programs at affordable rates.
“Navigation Centers combine shelter with services and have been a critical tool in moving people toward permanent housing. However, resources are limited. California has stepped up to support San Francisco so we can attack this homelessness crisis together,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting, Chair of the Budget Committee, who helped secure $10 million in last year’s state budget to open two more Navigation Centers in the City. “I look forward to working with Mayor Breed to implement more solutions.”
Navigation Centers are intended to serve residents struggling with homelessness who are resistant to traditional shelters. They allow people to bring their partners, pets, and belongings with them. Case managers provide support to connect them with job opportunities, health services, public benefits, and permanent housing.
“Six years ago, when the District 9 Office began our work to build the first ever Navigation Center in San Francisco, we immediately recognized Division Circle as a perfect site for another Center,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “Since I took office last year, I partnered with Assemblymember Ting to secure funds to open more Navigation Centers to clear tent encampments on our streets, and I worked with the past three Mayors to secure this site. It’s taken strategic and persistent efforts between many City departments and State offices to get us to this ribbon cutting today. I look forward to continuing this kind of effective collaboration to solve our homeless crisis.”
“We appreciate our great partnership with the City of San Francisco to sustain vibrant communities,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. “The Division Circle Navigation Center adjacent to US 101 is an innovative approach that makes use of Caltrans properties near downtown to help address the homeless crisis in San Francisco.”
As with other Navigation Centers, access to Division Circle comes from referral from the Encampment Resolution Team, which concentrates on resolving long term encampments, and the Homeless Outreach Team, and provides care management and medical services to homeless individuals.
“Public Works was honored to have a role in the planning and design of the Division Circle Navigation Center. The partnership with state and local agencies in looking for this site, and the sites of future Navigation Centers, will go a long way in getting people off our streets and into temporary housing with supportive services,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.
As of June 2018, Navigation Centers have transitioned 485 individuals into permanent housing, found temporary placements for 91 others, and connected another 1,065 individuals with support through the Homeward Bound program.
“I would like to thank all of the partners that came together to make this new Navigation Center a reality,” said Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “This Navigation Center will play a critical part in our work to effectively resolve encampments, offering the most vulnerable among us a safe place from which to begin their individual journeys out of homelessness.”
Division Circle is operated by St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco, a non-profit contributor that is responsible for case management, medical care, mental health and substance abuse screening, and finding appropriate and available housing for clients.
“This center will provide critical and extensive support services to clients who suffer from chronic homelessness,” said Shari Wooldridge, St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco’s Executive Director. “We are proud to have been chosen to operate this important facility and to continue to be an integral part of the city’s fight against homelessness.”