Opposing fundraising campaigns show community divide over waterfront Navigation Center

Dueling fundraising campaigns seeking to support and thwart the construction of a proposed Navigation Center near the Embarcadero with a capacity of housing up to 225 homeless people have exceeded their stated goals on Friday.

Safer Embarcadero for All, the GoFundMe campaign in support of the center launched 16 days ago by community activist William Fitzgerald and backed by several tech CEOs — including Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey — exceeded its goal of $175,000 by $5. The funds will be donated to the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness.

“Happy Friday y’all,” said Fitzgerald in a tweet. “We did it. This city is so goddam rich, no one should be sleeping on the streets.”

The opposing campaign, Safe Embarcadero for All, also also surpassed a stated goal of $100,000, raising a total of $100,930 on Friday. That campaign was started by a South Beach resident who threatened legal action should the center be built. The funds were raised within 23 days and according to the campaign, will be used to hire local real estate attorney Andrew Zacks.

The campaigns are evidence of heightening tensions over the proposed center, and point to a community divided over how to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis.

Mayor London Breed was booed at a community hearing on the center held at the Delancey Street Foundation earlier this month, and had previously indicated that she would be willing to scale down the size of the center, to avoid legal challenges.

Those resisting the proposal have expressed concerns over potential increases in crime, drug use and loitering in the neighborhood, as clients are not required to discontinue drug or alcohol use to be admitted, though they are barred from doing so on site. City officials have given their assurances that increased security around the city’s navigation centers have actually reduced crime in neighborhoods were they operate.

On Thursday, District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney announced plans to introduce legislation that would mandate navigation centers open up within 30 months in other districts as well.

A hearing on the proposal is scheduled at the San Francisco Port Commission on April 23.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

Happy Friday y’all!

We did it.

This city is so goddam rich, no one should be sleeping on the streets.

Thanks to everyone who donated and supported. Let’s keep supporting @TheCoalitionSF and looking for ways to house everyone. pic.twitter.com/Fw67CyIZJn

— William Fitzgerald (@william_fitz) April 13, 2019

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