Mayor Breed made an apparently unexpected appearance at a planned community meeting Wednesday night with Rincon Hill and SoMa neighbors to discuss plans for a homeless Navigation Center on Seawall Lot 330. And not everyone was glad to see her.
The packed room at the Delancey Street Foundation, just across the street from the Bryant and Embarcadero parking lot where the 200-bed shelter has been proposed, got heated when Breed took to the podium. Reps from the city and the SFPD had already made presentations about the design for the Navigation Center, and plans to increase police patrols around the area.
But angry residents screamed vitriol in Breed's direction over what they see as a poorly planned project that will create an unsafe environment for them. As a resident named Chris tells NBC Area in the footage below, "My frustration is tonight was a sales pitch, not a community meeting evidenced by focusing on lighting and color and exterior design not about what's happening to people outside."
As the Chronicle reports, city homeless czar Jeff Kositsky spoke to the crowd and noted that according to data, homeless individuals are less likely to be mentally ill or addicted to drugs than they are to be victims of crimes themselves.
Also, many advocates for the homeless showed up at the meeting to counter residents' complaints, holding up signs that said "Hate has no home here" and "Being homeless doesn’t mean you matter less." Others had signs that said "NIMBY" with a line through it.
Opponents to the project have a crowdfunding campaign for their legal assistance in launching what may be a CEQA fight to delay the Navigation Center, and that has raised almost $92,000 of its $100,000 goal as of today. A counter campaign by homeless advocates pushing for the shelter's construction has raised $163,000 of its $175,000 goal.
At Wednesday's meeting, as opponents shouted things at Breed like "Build it at City Hall!", the mayor said, "It's always going to be a bad plan when it's in your neighborhood. I have a shelter in my neighborhood." She implied that residents' complaints that this plan has been poorly thought out is simply excuse-making by those who believe all homeless are dangerous or undesirable.
The plan is currently for the Navigation Center to live at the site for four years, and the Port Commission still has to weigh in on whether to lease the property to the city.