San Francisco Navigation Centers and SAFE Navigation Centers
San Francisco faces a significant challenge with people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. The 2017 Point-in-Time Count estimated 7,500 individuals experiencing homelessness, approximately 4,400 living unsheltered, on any given night.
Through improved coordination city-wide and the development of Navigation Centers, existing Temporary Shelters and SAFE Navigation Centers, we are having a significant impact in our ability to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors. We know that the dignity and safety of every San Franciscan improves when everyone has a place to sleep inside.
The Navigation Center Model
San Francisco’s first Navigation Center opened in March 2015 and was a successful pilot serving San Francisco’s highly vulnerable and long-term unhoused neighbors who are often fearful of accessing traditional shelter and services. HSH subsequently opened 8 Navigation Centers and currently has 6 in operation. For more information, click here.
San Francisco’s Navigation Center model is being replicated nationally and, here in San Francisco, we building on this best practice by developing SAFE Navigation Centers.
The SAFE Navigation Center Model
Similar to Navigation Centers, SAFE Navigation Centers are low-threshold, high-service residential programs for adults experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. SAFE Navigation Centers are one part of the Homelessness Response System and are an attractive service for people living unsheltered or in encampments.
SAFE Navigation Centers are essential to reducing unsheltered homelessness and connecting guests to services and housing assistance. SAFE Navigation Centers build off of the best aspects of Navigation Centers while making them more scalable, sustainable, and effective. The City is looking to expand SAFE Navigation Centers in neighborhoods across the city to respond to the homelessness crisis.
The City is currently proposing the Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center. Learn more.
Navigation Centers and SAFE Navigation Centers are a proven way to get people off the street and on a pathway to housing and stability. In 2018, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing helped over 2,200 people exit homelessness, and since their launch Navigation Centers helped 46% of their guests end their experience of homelessness after a stay in a Navigation Center.
Navigation Centers and SAFE Navigation Centers do not accept walk-ins. All individuals and couples who enter have been selected by the SF Homeless Outreach Team or a centralized referral system. Because Navigation Centers operate 24×7, there are no lines outside in the evening, and guests are not exited onto the street in the morning.
Improving Safety for All San Franciscans
Neighbors of the existing Navigation Centers report that Navigation Centers do not have negative impacts on their community and, in many cases, reduce homelessness and improve a sense of safety in the area. For example, one neighborhood association near a Navigation Center offered this letter of support to extend the lease of the Navigation Center after it proved to be effective for people experiencing homelessness and the surrounding residents.
Existing Navigation Centers
photos by City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Works
Bayshore Navigation Center
- Located at 125 Bayshore Boulevard
- Opened October 2018
- 128 person capacity
Bryant Navigation Center
- Located at 680 Bryant Street
- Opened December 2018
- 84 person capacity
Division Circle Navigation Center
- Located at 224 South Van Ness Avenue
- Opened June 2018
- 126 person capacity
Central Waterfront Navigation Center
- Located at 600 25th Street
- Opened June 2017
- 64 person capacity
Civic Center Navigation Center
- Located at 20 12th Street
- Opened June 2016
- 93 person capacity
Additionally, Hummingbird Navigation Center is funded and operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health