SF Mayor Breed, city officials call Embarcadero Navigation Center 'dignified' environment during tour

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just outside the new Navigation Center along the Embarcadero, there are stark reminders of why the refuge is here.

A homeless man pushing a cart filled with his belongings.

For this man, a comfortable bed instead of a hard bench.

"There are thousands of people who are sleeping on streets, just here in San Francisco. So obviously, we need more shelters and related services," said Mayor Breed.

The Mayor and other City officials toured the new $4 million Navigation Center, which was once a parking lot along the Embarcadero waterfront.

A facility that'll have 200 beds and social services and medical care in what the City calls "a dignified" environment.

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"Our whole philosophy is really to treat this like a hotel because these are our guests and they need our services the most," said Steve Good from Five Keys which will manage the new facility.

Some will stay here on a 30-day program.

"They might be here until housing comes for them. If they're on another bed, they might be waiting for family to move them out of state," said Good.

Ambassadors will be on hand to help and provide security.

So will the San Francisco police.

"We're providing four additional police officers to the shelter here that will police the area," said SFPD Deputy Chief Greg McEachern.

Promises of extra security, the Mayor hopes will calm the anxieties of neighbors who live next door in million-dollar condos.

In August, a homeless man attacked a woman in front of her apartment.

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Many neighbors have misgivings.

"The neighborhood is being forced to bear the risk of the unknown effects of the Navigation Center," said Marc Dragun, who lives across the street.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works and that we don't have any trouble," said Carolyn Moniz another neighbor.

Some who live in the area believe this shelter is a good thing.

"I hope they see that the people who are suffering here are in a better place after it opens," said Matt Carson.

The Center sits on Port property with a two-year lease.

The City can ask for another two-year extension, which of course depends on how successful the Navigation Center has been during its initial two years.

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