A Transitional Age Youth navigation center is planned at 888 Post St. in Lower Nob Hill. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Navigation center draws support from community

City officials took a step Wednesday toward transforming a vacant property into the first homeless shelter that caters to young adults in San Francisco.

On Wednesday, the Budget and Finance Committee unanimously advanced the proposed lease on a 33,970-square-foot vacant building at 888 Post St. The 20-year lease from the landlord TC II 888 Post, LLC would cost about $49 million, and includes an option to buy the property for $29 million before or on Aug. 1, 2022.

The proposal goes before the full Board of Supervisors for a vote on Feb. 25.

On the three-story site, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing plans to operate a 75-bed Navigation Center, a low-barrier, service-rich facility that helps unhoused people find longer-term solutions, for adults ages 18 to 24.

The City anticipates that if approved, the Navigation Center would begin operations Oct. 1, at a cost of $3.8 million annually.

The Navigation Center would be the first opened in District 3, and the first citywide to serve The City’s more than 1,100 unhoused young adults.

Goodwill is expected to sublease the ground floor, offsetting about a third of the cost of the lease. Supporters of the project hope it will help the center’s occupants through its donation drop-off services and opportunities for workforce development.

The City would pull from the $27.7 million in the State Homelessness Emergency Aid Program to pay for the first two years of the center’s lease and operations.

DHSH has not identified sources of funding after the first two years of the lease, according to a Feb. 12 report by the Budget and Legislative Analyst. It is, however, exploring options like purchasing the building or utilizing the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program (HHAP) State grant.

The City would also pay up to $5 million for tenant, leasehold and capital improvements, with an option to contribute an additional $2 million. The landlord would bear responsibility for any other improvement costs.

Most speakers at the meeting showed support for the project with the exception of Chris Schulman, a board member forthe Lower Polk Community Benefit District, who said the organization was still making its decision. However Schulman said that the community outreach for the project— which has included two community stakeholder meetings — has been exceptional.

Other speakers advocated for wraparound services and services geared for the LGBTQ+ community, which makes up nearly half of San Francisco’s unhoused population under the age of 25.

A DHSH spokesperson said that the center will provide services targeting LGBTQ+ youth.

“We haven’t selected the provider for the (Transitional Age Youth) Navigation Center to date, but whatever organization is selected would need to propose how it will provide culturally responsive services for young people and young people who are LGBTQ and youth of color,” DHSH said. “This might include wraparound services and other supports for these young folks.”

Chris Fogarty, a bar owner in District 3 for more than 17 years, expressed support for the project. A homeless encampment currently sits next to one of his bars, he said.

“I think this is going to alleviate that — having a Navigation Center, helping people get to a place where they can go, and also beds,” he said. “And people can hang out there all day too — it’s not just a shelter that kicks people out at 6 in the morning.”

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