Mixed reaction ahead of Embarcadero ‘Safe Navigation Center’ vote

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Should the Port of San Francisco approve plans for a waterfront safe navigation center for the homeless?

That’s the question folks who live and work along Embarcadero are wondering Monday night.

The port commission is expected to vote Tuesday to lease 46,000 square feet of land to the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, but many feel the plan is flawed.

Opponents of the navigation center say even though the city’s proposed housing plan would be temporary on the Embarcadero, they don’t appreciate how quickly the city is trying to make this happen.

KRON4’s Noelle Bellow spoke with others though who say the homeless are already camping in and around the area, and feel putting a roof over their heads is a good solution.

Out of the city’s six navigation centers currently in operation, the proposed waterfront center would be the largest.

The proposal states it would be in operation for two years -eventually aiming to house 200 beds. Diane Hartnett lives adjacent to Seawall 330.

She says she does believe homelessness is a crisis in San Francisco, but doesn’t feel this is the way to solve it.

“To take what we know is a troubled situation and just plant it in the middle of a parking lot without thoroughly thinking it through, it’s just the safety, that’s my concern,” she said.

The group Safe Embarcadero for all is also opposed to the idea.

On Monday they filed a report to the port commissioners stating a slew of reasons they’re opposed to the idea, ultimately saying, “The Port has allowed the political derivatives of the mayor to constrain public outreach and limit community involvement around a well-intentioned but ultimately misguided and unrealistic proposal and timeline.”

Hartnett agrees and says just because she’s concerned doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about the homeless.

“Every neighborhood is touched by this crisis. I just think they should’ve taken more time and it should’ve included more community involvement.”

According to the city, navigation centers have helped 46 percent of guests exit homelessness.

The Port Commission is meeting Tuesday afternoon and is expected to approve a proposal to lease this land.

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