On September 13th, 2018, the community learned of plans for a Navigation Center in District 3 when Supervisor Peskin spoke to the media and proposed the site of Bay and Kearny Streets. He promised “appropriate public outreach” to coincide with the planning of the Center.
Mayor Breed’s desire for every neighborhood to pitch in to solve our city’s crisis on our streets was stated in her 2019 State of City speech when she said: “And let’s be clear -- every part of our city, every neighborhood must be open to being part of the solution.” This echoed a previous statement by her spokesman, Jeff Cretan, who said: “We are committed to working with Supervisor Peskin on trying to find a Navigation Center site.”
There is is a state of emergency on our streets. In District 3, the crisis has never been so acute. As noted in the Chronicle from the last Homeless Point in Time count, “Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach is seeing more suffering than ever before, having ‘the largest numeric increase of any city neighborhood since 2015 — 258 more homeless denizens, up 106 percent.’”
There has been great interest in the idea of a Navigation Center in District 3. Unfortunately, few details have been revealed publicly since the initial September 2018 announcement. No source of funding has been identified. No designs have been shared. No public meetings have been set.
Without details, we cannot function in our role of keeping our membership informed of community development. Unconfirmed rumors have swirled, and other neighborhood groups have already stated positions on a plan that is presently nebulous at best. This is unproductive for all, and harmful to those who are in the most need of new solutions.
Our North Beach Neighbors 2019 Membership Survey only underscores the confusion in the neighborhood about the Center. When asked if they support a Navigation Center in North Beach, the results indicate a clear desire for more information, with 37% answering “Unsure.” 44% voiced support, while 19% did not.
We ask the following…
Why has no progress or further details been revealed publicly since the September 2018 announcement?
When will further community meetings be announced to share progress of planning a Navigation Center?
What is the proposed source of funding for the Navigation Center?
What is the length of the Center’s establishment, and is it open to extension?
What is the proposed size of the Navigation Center?
Who would administer the services at the Navigation Center?
What other sites are being considered in District 3?
Our interest in answers is only heightened given that previous attempts to open a Navigation Center at 88 Broadway (November 2017) and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (2015) never advanced far enough to provide any significant details or results.
We ask all elected officials and city agencies to work together in a collaborative manner to update the North Beach and District 3 community about plans for a Navigation Center with specific details as soon as possible. We are hopeful that recent budget negotiations and the added resources brought by the ERAF windfall mean that we can have answers and solutions more quickly now.
The 300 members of North Beach Neighbors look forward to chance to learn more and be a positive part of the pursuit of solutions to provide shelter and resources for those who need it most.
Danny Sauter is the President of the North Beach Neighbors, an organization committed to building community and improving quality of life at San Francisco's historic crossroads. NBN advocates forward-thinking solutions, and helps ensure that our neighborhood protects its rich cultural legacy while meeting the challenges of a modern city.
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