A Navigation Center is a successful program designed to shelter San Francisco’s highly vulnerable and long-term homeless residents who are often fearful of accessing traditional shelter and services. Navigation Centers provide these otherwise unsheltered San Franciscans room and board while case managers work to connect them to income, public benefits, health services, shelter, and housing. Navigation Centers are different from traditional shelters in that they have few barriers to entry and intensive case management. Unlike traditional shelters, people with partners, pets and possessions are welcome at Navigation Centers. The purpose of a Navigation Center is to offer a respite from life on the street and to support people in changing their lives by making lasting social service and housing connections.
Access to Navigation Centers is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Navigation Center services are coordinated with the Encampment Resolution Team and the Coordinated Entry System. Navigation Centers do not accept external referrals or drop-ins.
Episcopal Community Services opened the first Navigation Center in San Francisco in March 2015, Mission Street Navigation Center. That site has since closed and will be replaced by a supportive housing development.