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In 2015, San Francisco launched a new kind of interim housing site—Navigation Centers—which provided shelter, meals, and essential services to long-term unsheltered San Franciscans, many of whom were fearful of accessing traditional shelters. Navigation Centers provided a safe place for individuals (of all genders), couples, and pets. Onsite case managers connected guests to public benefits, health services, and in partnership with Adult Coordinated Entry (ACE) and Problem Solving, housing.
In partnership with the city, Episcopal Community Services (ECS) opened the first Navigation Center in March 2015 in the Mission District. Subsequently, ECS opened Navigation Centers on the Central Waterfront in June 2017 and on Bryant Street in December 2018. The Mission District Center closed in 2018.
During the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health safety of Navigation Center guests, San Francisco temporarily closed all its Navigation Centers, inviting the individuals living at the sites into Project RoomKey/Sheltering In Place (SIP) hotels.
The Bryant Homeless Storage Center continues to provide opportunities for 350-500 experiencing homelessness to securely store their belongings.
The city is retaining Navigation Center sites for potential use during the ongoing pandemic.