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Former Mission District parking lot transformed into Navigation Center for homeless

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New center “will help us get people off the streets and transitioned into permanent housing,” says Mayor Breed

Newly Sworn In San Francisco Mayor London Breed Attends Meeting On Emergency Preparedness Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Located on the site of a former Caltrans parking lot near Highway 101, a new Navigation Center opened Friday. The city’s newest center is located at 224-242 South Van Ness—near Division Street, a stretch known for its tent encampments—making it the fifth of its kind.

Unlike homeless shelters, Navigation Centers are aimed at getting people off the streets and into housing. People are allowed to come and go as well as leave their belongings in the centers. Residents are allotted 30 days of stay, with the option for more. Access is determined on a case-by-case basis by the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

“This Navigation Center will help us get people off the streets and transitioned into permanent housing,” said Mayor Breed in a press release, announcing the official opening . “It is not enough to merely get people indoors, we know that we need to provide services to ensure they do not end up back on our streets. As a result of our strong partnership with our state representatives, we will be able help our most vulnerable residents get the care and shelter they need.”

Christened Division Circle, the center, which will be operated by St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco, is built on land leased from Caltrans that was once used as a parking lot.

The mayor’s office also claims that, since the first Navigation Center opened in 2015, they have “successfully transitioned 485 individuals into permanent housing, found temporary placements for 91 others, and connected another 1,065 individuals with support through the Homeward Bound program.”