1,000 New Shelter Beds

London Breed
5 min readJan 18, 2020

In October 2018, I set out to add 1,000 new shelter beds to our City’s shelter system — and we did it.

This week we announced that we will be opening a new SAFE Navigation Center in the Upper Market area, which will add up to 200 beds and brings our number of new shelter beds opened and in the pipeline to 1,065. These new beds will be open by the end of the year.

Here’s a breakdown of where there new 1,000 shelter beds are located:

566 beds opened

  • 84 beds at the Bryant Street Navigation Center
  • 128 beds at the Bayshore Navigation Center
  • 60 beds at the Buena Vista Horace Mann Community School shelter
  • 14 beds for people with behavioral health and substance use issues at Hummingbird Place
  • 60 beds at the Division Circle Navigation Center Expansion
  • 20 beds at the Civic Center Navigation Center Expansion
  • 200 beds at The Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center

499 beds in the development pipeline

  • 24 beds at Jelani House to be opened by February.
  • 200 beds at the new Bayview SAFE Shelter (1925 Evans Avenue) will open later this year, in partnership with Supervisor Shamann Walton.
  • 75 beds at 888 Post Street to serve as shelter for Transition Aged Youth, in partnership with Supervisor Aaron Peskin.
  • Up to 200 beds at Upper Market SAFE Navigation Center (33 Gough Street).

To be sure, this is something to be proud of. It took the City coming together and working with our nonprofit service providers and State partners, and lot of City staff time. I want to thank all the providers and the City staff who have worked tirelessly to open and operate these new beds, and our existing shelters.

Sadly, we need these 1,000 shelter beds because we are in a homelessness crisis. There are far too many people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco — with over 5,000 people experiencing homelessness on our streets and in our public spaces on any given night. We are making progress in helping people out of homelessness, but we have more work to do.

Shelters and Navigation Centers are only the first step in the solution. We need housing for people who are exiting homelessness, and need to make sure we’re providing housing at multiple levels of care so people can get the services they need to permanently exit homelessness and make their home in San Francisco.

Mayor Breed at the site of the future 75-bed Navigation Center for Transitional Age Youth

That’s why, I also announced the next phase of our homelessness initiative — a goal to add another 2,000 placements for people who are experiencing homelessness over the next two years.

This initiative includes five main parts:

  • Focusing on housing;
  • Opening new behavioral health beds across the continuum of care;
  • Opening new shelter beds wherever we can;
  • Innovating with new models such as drop-in centers where people can be safe and warm off the street and meth sobering centers where people have a safe place to be while they address their addictions; and
  • Supporting State-level policies that will increase housing affordability and funding for homelessness.

More Housing

We’ll be focusing on building more housing, especially permanent supportive housing, to provide more places for people to live once they exit shelters and Navigation Centers. To do this, we’ll fund units in both master-leased buildings and in scattered sites.

Mayor Breed announced the City will fund 62 units of permanent housing in The Abigail Hotel in Civic Center, and another 89 units in The Post Hotel

Behavioral Health Beds

We know that all too often, homelessness and behavioral health challenges go hand in hand. To help the approximately 4,000 people who are experiencing homelessness and behavioral health issues, we need to create more spaces for people to get the treatment they need. That’s why I’m committed to opening new behavioral health beds. These beds include the ones that we’ll open as part of Mental Health SF, as well as the 212 beds we funded in the most recent City budget.

More Shelter capacity and Drop-in Centers

Even as we’re working to build more housing so people can exit shelters and get into homes, we know there are still more people who are living unsheltered on our streets. By expanding our shelter capacity and creating drop-in centers that people can use during the day, we can help even more people get indoors and connected with services.

Supporting State-level Policies

Homelessness isn’t just an issue in San Francisco. It’s an issue throughout California and up and down the West Coast. We need to support policies that address our twin troubles of housing affordability and homelessness at the state-level.

I applaud Governor Newsom’s commitment to continue providing state funding to help us care for our residents and get people off the streets and into housing. I’m looking forward to working with the Governor, our state delegation in Sacramento, and our Bay Area partners to ensure these resources are distributed in a way that supports our strategic efforts and the critical work we’re doing to make progress on our city-wide and regional goals.

We know that homelessness is a symptom of housing unaffordability, and we need to build more housing through the City — that’s why I support Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 50.

I want to thank Assemblymember Phil Ting for his leadership championing funding for homelessness in past budgets, and I’m looking forward to working with him on ensuring that the State supports programs that we know work here in SF.

We need more ongoing funding from the State for homelessness. That’s why I support Assemblymember David Chiu’s legislation to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on secondary homes and reduce the amount of interest taxpayers can deduct on their primary homes to create an ongoing source of funding for homelessness services.

It Takes a Team

Again, this work would not be possible without the work of City leadership and staff, service providers, State leaders, and our partners on the Board of Supervisors.

Specifically, I want to thank our amazing service providers for all of their work:

  • Five Keys
  • Episcopal Community Services
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco
  • Community Housing Partnership
  • PRC
  • Dolores Street Community Services
  • Providence Foundation
  • Hospitality House
  • Larkin Street Youth Services
  • Hamilton Families
  • Homeless Prenatal Program
  • DISH
  • Compass Family Services
  • Catholic Charities