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Homeless center proposed for Bayview

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Locale in parking lot under freeway hopes to avoid challenges that stymy other navigation center plans

An overpass in San Francisco.
The 1925 Evans site sits beneath the 280 freeway.

While the city remains mired in litigation over an approved homeless navigation center along the Embarcadero, Mayor London Breed announced Monday she’s moving on to a new plan for another 200-bed center in Bayview.

District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton has signed onto the proposal for a homeless center at 1925 Evans Avenue, a 44,500-plus square foot plot owned by Caltrans that presently serves as a parking lot just south of Islais Creek.

The city has twice before leased Caltrans land for new shelters. In this case a 2017 law allowing for public use of underutilized land beneath freeway overpasses—1925 Evans sits in the shadow of 280—opens up the locale.

“We especially need more shelters in neighborhoods like the Bayview, where there aren’t currently enough resources to serve the people who need them,” Breed said in Monday’s announcement.

In the same press release, Breed’s office pointed out that the 2019 point-in-time homeless count “found 1,889 people experiencing homelessness in District 10, and only 455 emergency shelter beds.”

The complete point-in-time report, released in early July, put that number slightly lower at 1,863 sheltered and unsheltered homeless residents, the second-highest in the city after District Six (which includes SoMa and the Tenderloin).

In 2017, the homeless count in District 10 was 1,172, and in 2015 it was 1,272. The increase of 58.9 percent over two years is actually much larger than the population spike in and around the Tenderloin, which was only 10.9 percent over the same period.

That report also notes “the demand for adult shelter beds remains high, with 1,190 individuals on the adult shelter waitlist on the week of the 2019 point-in-time count.”

Breed has promised to add 1,000 new beds to the navigation center program by the end of 2020. Right now her office’s official count sits at 504 approved new spots, but a lawsuit by homeowners near the Seawall Lot 330 site potentially imperils 200 of those.

District 10 has several extant homeless centers already, including a Dogpatch locale on 25th Street and another on Bayshore Boulevard, but none in the Bayview neighborhood itself.