“Supervisor, will you allow them to do drugs and alcohol in the center? Because if you’re not, they are going to be on our front steps, on my back yard fence, doing their drugs, snorting their coke and shooting up,” the woman said.Navigation Centers, currently operating at 1950 Mission St. and at the Civic Center Hotel, are focused on giving clients onsite services, a case management program and fewer rules than regular shelters. They are designed to get people off the streets, but in many cases those who enter chose to return to the streets or discover that the housing being offered is another shelter stay. The majority of those who get housing, do so by accepting a ticket home.“Stop being afraid of human beings – these are people too,” said Equipto, a local rapper and and activist. “The only way this homeless thing will get some closure is if you residents [stop] being so scared and deal with the homeless people hand in hand, face to face.”Jeff Kositsky, the city’s director of Homelessness and Supportive Housing estimated the Mission has 400 homeless residents. Citywide, the number is between 6,600 and nearly 10,000 depending on the count criteria.The math on homeless housing underscores the endurance of those numbers. The city has more than 6,000 units of housing specifically for homeless individuals, but only 400 of those units turnover every year.Police have said that they will not address homelessness with increased enforcement. But Ronen said some 60 percent of the calls for service received by Mission Police Station concern tent encampments or activity associated with them.She said that the area around the Navigation Center will be monitored by a dedicated police patrol, along with 24-hour security at the site.An outdoor recreation space built into the center’s design, said Ronen, will hamper loitering around its premises.Mission District Captain Bill Griffin said that a combination of officers on bicycles and in cars will focus on the area during the center’s existence.“Walking beats are good for engaging the community, but in this instance I want them to be able to cover that [four square block] area quickly,” said Griffin. The city leaders also promised that they would provide surrounding residents with a point of contact at the center.But some neighbors who opposed the center pressed on. “What’s Mayor Ed Lee going to do to remove the tents of the people who don’t want to be [at the Navigation Center?” One woman, who spoke for a small group that had formed in opposition, wanted to know.The woman also inquired about the proposed Navigation Center’s exit plan for clients, once the center is shut down to make way for the housing project.In the end, the goal is to get people into permanent housing. Kositsky said the 120-bed center would have some 50 rent subsidies available for people who were close to getting off the streets but needed a financial boost to do so. The center would also offer on-site social services, storage, showers, and meals to between 250 and 350 adults.“We need places of safety for people,” said Jason Albertson, who directs the city’s Encampment Resolution Team. “Having an entry point for care is extremely important.”A local lawyer and activist, Brooke Oliver, agreed. “About 30 years ago I was homeless – people helped me get back on my feet, go to college, go to law school,” said Oliver. “That is why I’m successful and standing here with a roof over my head.”Oliver wasn’t alone in her experience – one supporter said that he was evicted from his Mission District home last year and called the proposed Navigation Center “the best thing that’s been happening [in this neighborhood].”Another man who addressed city leaders said that he and his wife are currently “three months out from homelessness.”Despite giving their constituents a second opportunity to publically speak on the matter – a first meeting was held on April 25 and drew nearly twice as many people – city leaders on Thursday made it clear that they plan on forging ahead with the temporary conversion of 1515 South Van Ness into a shelter.The Navigation Center is set to run for about nine months, until a mixed-use housing development slated for construction on the property breaks ground early next year.“The work could start as soon as tomorrow,” said Ronen in reference to the construction of the Navigation Center, which is currently pending lease negotiations with the developer, Lennar Multifamily Communities.In March, Ronen negotiated the temporary shelter as part of a deal backed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Lennar agreed to lease the property to the city at no charge. The deal also included a $1 million donation set aside exclusively to build affordable housing in the Mission District.On Tuesday, the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously backed Ronen’s proposal, but the vote sparked a conversation about geographic equity regarding the distribution of the city’s homeless services. Many of those who attended Thursday’s forum echoed that call for each district to accommodate a shelter.“I feel like there is a lot of consolidation in the Mission of homeless and low-income projects all between Cesar Chavez and 24th Streets,” said one woman.“You always hit the poor neighborhoods,” said a neighbor of the proposed shelter, addressing the city officials. “What about places like Pacific heights or the Marina? They’ll come down with lawsuits and all sorts of money, and you guys all run away.”But Ronen said that while the Mission was disproportionately impacted by the city’s homeless crisis, the perception that most of the city’s services are located in the district is false. District 6, which encompasses the Tenderloin and South of Market, currently hosts about 65 percent of the city’s shelter and Navigation beds – the Mission, in comparison, has 8 percent.Still, Ronen said that she urged her colleagues on the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to build additional Navigation Centers in their districts.“We need other districts to step up as well, and I will fight for that,” she promised.Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. Chavez Tags: homeless Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% A temporary homeless shelter open its doors at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. in the coming months, and on Thursday night city leaders responded to a multitude of questions and concerns by making promises that include a dedicated police patrol.Opinions at the meeting, which drew some 150 people, were divided on priorities: safety and compassion.“My neighbor’s car has been broken into six times in four months,” said a woman who lives nearby the vacant lot where the Navigation Center will open.She addressed Mission District Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who was there to answer questions from the community. She was joined by leaders from the the San Francisco Police Department, Public Works, and the Department on Supportive Housing and Homelessness.