We heard a lot about this pilot project over the last year called the Homeless Navigation Center, which is an innovative shelter concept that allows homeless people living in communities with others, pets and all, to come with all their belongings and stay temporarily while applying for various city and state services, and ultimately finding more permanent housing. The center was built out of the former Phoenix Continuation High School at 1950 Mission Street (near 16th), and as you can see in the video above, it's equipped with new bathrooms with showers, food services, laundry, beds for 75 people, a pet play area, and big storage lockers for peoples' belongings. The place has been open just a couple months but already it seems to having a small impact, allowing homeless people to come in on their own terms, get mental health and substance abuse treatment, come and go as they please, and not have to contend with the needs of daily survival and the existing shelter program while trying to get back on their feet.

Participants in the program are located by the city's Homeless Outreach team, and as people "graduate" out of the center into permanent housing, more encampments are recruited to participate.

The Navigation Center was funded by a $3 million anonymous donation, via the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and it's being run by Episcopal Community Services with the help of various city departments, including the office of Housing Opportunities, Partnerships & Engagement (HOPE). As of May, they received another donation to keep the center open beyond its initially planned 18 months.

Previously: New Homeless 'Navigation Center' Will Seek To Move Whole Encampments, Pets And All