The Port Commission unanimously approved the 130-bed Embarcadero homeless shelter whose neighborhood opposition has dominated headlines for weeks.
The proposed Navigation Center has caused a mighty uproar since Mayor Breed introduced it last month, as condo-dwelling residents have fought the shelter tooth and nail, and two dueling GoFundMe campaigns made national headlines for symbolizing everything that is tragic about San Francisco. But the center was up for final city approval at Tuesday night’s S.F. Port Commission meeting, another contentious barn-burner that according to the Chronicle went for five-and-half hours. In the end, the Examiner reports that the Embarcadero Navigation Center was approved Tuesday night by a unanimous vote, despite the Port Commissioners getting another earful from locals who live nearby.
BREAKING: San Francisco’s Port Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the city to build a 200-bed Navigation Center on the Embarcadero. https://t.co/mV24UguSCO— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) April 24, 2019
Still, this matter is probably not settled, as those locals are planning legal challenges, but for the time being the Port Commission has approved the shelter go up on land owned by the Port of San Francisco. In a compromise measure that failed to satisfy opponents, the shelter was downsized to 130 beds (from 200). It’s a temporary Navigation Center approved for two years, though NBC Bay Area notes it has “an option to extend for two additional years if the center meets good neighbor policies and reduces the unsheltered homeless count in the South Beach neighborhood.”
Rincon Hill and East Cut residents remain up in arms. “I think it’s so terrific that you are so concerned about the homeless. But I wish you were concerned about the people who help this city survive,” said resident Sheila Clayman, according to the Examiner. “I am concerned for my own personal safety”
Nonetheless, the Commission voted unanimously to approve the Navigation Center. “I believe that we should do it without delay,” commissioner Victor Makras said Tuesday. “I think simultaneously we can work on improving the management and oversight. I believe that we should identify alternative sites for homeless shelters, so that when we find a permanent use for this site, we can relocate it.”
The anti-shelter crowd’s attorney Andrew Zacks, for whom the GoFundMe was basically a personal fundraiser, telegraphed the legal strategy on which he planned to continue fighting the center. During public comment, Zacks said that the city had violated the Brown Act by failing to provide him documents he’d requested, and that the center’s approval was a breach of “public trust obligations.” He also plans challenges citing the California Environmental Quality Act.
Which means the shelter Port Commission approved Tuesday night is not really a done deal yet. As commission vice president Willie Adams said Tuesday according to the Chronicle, “This is something that will probably be settled in the courts. It won’t be settled here.”