SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor London Breed, announced her homelessness shelter expansion project on Monday, July 29, in an effort to combat the city’s growing homelessness population.

The proposed SAFE (Shelter and Access for Everyone) Navigation Center will house a total of 504 new shelter beds within the community space, as well as other beneficial services for those experiencing houselessness. It is apart of Breed’s plan to create 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of 2020 within the County of San Francisco.

The new SAFE shelter will be located at 1925 Evans Street and the operating land will be leased by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The underutilized space allows communities to create community food and shelter programs at a relatively affordable cost, as well as providing assistance to those who need it.

Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, stated in the mayor’s press release: “District 10 has the second highest number of individuals experiencing homelessness on any given night. Additionally, 37% of San Francisco’s homeless population identifies as Black or African American, while comparatively the City’s general population is only 6%. It is vital to increase shelter capacity for this disproportionately impacted community.”

The SAFE (Shelter and Access for Everyone) Navigation Center was proposed in response to the 2019 Point-In-Time Count (PIT)—a program that reports the number of sheltered individuals within a city in the last week of January annually. Cities who receive funding from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants conduct the report and San Francisco’s PIT showed some drastic changes within the past two years.

The number of individuals experiencing homelessness within those 10 days in January 2019, was 8,011, roughly a 16.8 percent increase from the results reported in 2017. District 6 contained the highest population of sheltered individuals with a total of 3,659 sheltered individuals, but District 10 lingered behind with a total of 1,863 individuals.

“We have to continue to move quickly to build more shelters and housing throughout our City because there are too many people suffering on our streets,” said Breed. “We especially need more shelters in neighborhoods like the Bayview where there aren’t currently enough resources to serve the people who need them. This SAFE Navigation Center will be a place where people can get the help they need to exit homelessness.”