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SF opens second Navigation Center for homeless residents

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Mayor Ed Lee stands outside the Civic Center Hotel during the opening of The City’s second Navigation Center at 12th and Market streets in San Francisco, Calif. Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (Rachael Garner/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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San Francisco celebrated the opening of its second Navigation Center on Tuesday, marking the addition of 93 beds that will serve as temporary shelters for homeless residents.

Located in the Civic Center Hotel at 20 12th St., the second Navigation Center builds upon the first that opened in the Mission District in March 2015. The Civic Center Hotel is owned by the UA Local 38 Plumbers Union Pension Trust Fund and is slated to be rebuilt in two years into 550 new homes, including 110 affordable homes for formerly homeless residents.

RELATED: COMPLETE SF EXAMINER HOMELESS COVERAGE

Touted as a popular model for homeless residents, Navigation Centers have less rules than conventional homeless shelters. They don’t have curfews, for instance, and allow pets and belongings. The Mission’s center has served 550 clients since it opened, 80 percent of whom have moved into stable supportive housing or were reunited with friends and family, city officials said.

Guests at Navigation Centers are also provided with mental and health services and placed on an expedited track to transition within months into longer-term housing.

“Living on our city’s streets is not healthy or safe,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement. “The Navigation Centers are an important piece in solving homelessness for those individuals who face multiple challenges to returning to housing.”

Also Tuesday, The City’s director of the Department of Homelessness Jeff Kositsky announced the creation of the Encampment Response Team, which will provide services for those who live in encampments and offer outreach to neighbors.

“The camps are unsafe and unhealthy for people living in them and are highly disruptive to our neighborhoods,” Kositsky said in a statement. “The new encampment response team will ensure our residents living in encampments receive the shelter and services they deserve and that our neighborhoods remain safe and healthy for families and everyone.”

In addition to the homeless department, agencies involved in the encampment response team include the Mayor’s Office, the Homeless Outreach Team, Public Works, Public Health, the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Recreation and Parks Department.

Meanwhile, a number of measures could go before voters in November that would generate money for additional homeless services.

Supervisor Mark Farrell last week submitted for the ballot a measure that would ban encampments and authorize The City to remove them within 24 hours notice after offering shelter.

Supervisor Eric Mar confirmed Monday he will place on the ballot a 1.5 percent surtax on tech companies’ payroll in The City that would generate revenue for homeless and housing services.

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