Recent Comments

    From City Hall: 08.08.2019

    Mayor Breed Proposes New SAFE Navigation Center in the Bayview

    Mayor London Breed, along with Supervisor Shamann Walton, on July 29 proposed building a new SAFE (Shelter and Access for Everyone) Navigation Center in the Bayview to serve people experiencing homelessness. The proposed SAFE Navigation Center is part of her efforts to open 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of 2020. San Francisco District 10, which includes the Bayview, has an especially urgent need for additional shelter beds. The 2019 Point-in-Time Count found 1,889 people experiencing homelessness in District 10, and only 455 emergency shelter beds.

    The SAFE Navigation Center would provide approximately 200 beds for people experiencing homelessness and would include dormitories, offices and community space, along with laundry facilities, and medical and social services. The Center would replace the 125 overnight mats currently offered at Providence Church with beds, and would add 75 new beds.

    “We have to continue to move quickly to build more shelters and housing throughout our City because there are too many people suffering on our streets,” Mayor Breed said. “We especially need more shelters in neighborhoods like the Bayview where there aren’t currently enough resources to serve the people who need them. This SAFE Navigation Center will be a place where people can get the help they need to exit homelessness.”

    Community Health Status Assessment data concerning the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood reveals that HIV/AIDS is one of the top causes of premature male death, with violence/assault and drug use disorders also being on the list. Homeless individuals can be more susceptible to HIV/AIDS and other health problems, as well as becoming victims of crime, given their inherent lack of resources and protection, along with other factors. As San Francisco Bay Times columnist Andrea Shorter reports in this issue, LGBTQ youth make up about half of the unsheltered youth population in San Francisco.

    In terms of the proposed new navigation center, an advisory committee consisting of local residents, merchants, faith leaders and advocates is working with the City on the project. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH)

    is conducting at least two related public community meetings this month. These will take place from 6–7:30 pm on Thursday, August 8, at 4301 3rd Street, and from 6–7:30 pm on Monday, August 19, at the Southeast Community Facility, located at 1800 Oakdale Avenue.

     Zoning Changes Approved to Address Vacant Storefronts in Upper Market

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on July 30 unanimously passed an ordinance changing zoning along Market Street between Castro Street and Van Ness Avenue to make restaurants, arts activities and some nonprofit types principally permitted on ground floors. The legislation, authored by District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, responded to concerns from residents and businesses about the growing number of storefront vacancies and a report from the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst that showed the trend worsening. 

    “In a neighborhood struggling with vacancies, the city ought to be doing everything we can to attract businesses and help them to open as quickly as possible, and that is what we are hoping to achieve with this legislation,” said Mandelman, who represents the Castro on the Board of Supervisors. “This legislation envisions an Upper Market where new and delicious restaurants can serve local residents and draw visitors from around the city and the world; where nonprofits that have been priced out of their downtown office space can find a home and where local artists will fill galleries with their photography, paintings and ceramics.” 

    In March, a report by the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Legislative Analyst found that between 2015 and 2017 vacancies in Upper Market increased from 8.5 to 12.9 percent, most of which were found on Market Street between Dolores and Castro. The report suggested that among the reasons for Upper Market’s vacancies are the more restrictive Conditional Use requirements in effect there and not in other commercial corridors including nearby Valencia Street and Hayes Valley. According to the report, in Upper Market it took an average of 332 days from submission for an applicant to secure a Conditional Use authorization. When combined with other permitting requirements, the entire process could take years. 

    “It shouldn’t take years to open a small business in San Francisco and I’ve heard from many current or aspiring small business owners whose aspirations of opening or expanding in Upper Market were deeply complicated by a nearly impossible set of regulatory hurdles,” Mandelman said. “The legislation won’t be a silver bullet for all of Upper Market’s vacancy concerns but it’s a meaningful attempt to help small businesses succeed in a neighborhood where we desperately need them to succeed.”