San Francisco Port Commission approves controversial Embarcadero Navigation Center

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After months of heated public debate, the San Francisco Port Commission voted unanimously to approve a new Navigation Center, on their property, along the Embarcadero.

But, neighbors against the Nav Center warned of a legal fight that they intend to take on and Port Commissioner, Willie Adams, said, "This won't be settled here, it will be settled in the courts."

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After almost four hours of public comment, the Port Commission voted and approved an agreement with the city's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to operate a temporary Navigation Center along the Embarcadero. The revised proposal, approved Tuesday, is for a two-year term, with an option to renew.

"I think this is going to be a good step forward for the community," said Jeff Kositsky, the director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

There are currently sic Navigation Centers in San Francisco, which are all temporary. The Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center, will be the seventh in the city, located in a parking lot under the Bay Bridge at Beale Street.

"This is a good temporary solution to provide people a respite from the street and hopefully a platform for them to move beyond homelessness," said Kositsky.

"I was homeless for a while, I probably would have killed myself or died on the streets." said Jordan Davis, who was one of dozens of San Franciscans, who pleaded with the commission to approve the Embarcadero Nav Center. Davis now lives in a small unit in the Tenderloin and credits her time at a Nav Center for saving her life. "It created a low barrier shelter, it was pretty lenient and met me where I was at and I was able to get my life back on track."

People passionately for and against the Nav Center showed up at the Ferry Building to voice their concerns. Jeanne Lyons lives one block from the Nav Center site. Like many people, she's concerned about the future safety of her neighborhood.

"People who are drug addicts are allowed to live there. Drugs are not allowed within the center itself. Where do you think they're going to be doing it? Outside in the neighborhood itself," said Lyons.

RELATED: Mayor London Breed claps back at SF residents, angry about proposed homeless Navigation Center

Mayor London Breed has been instrumental in the approval of the new Nav Center, which will serve 130 people initially and then expand to serve 200 individuals. Construction is anticipated to begin in June.

SFPD will be adding two beat officers, seven days per week to the area.

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