San Francisco’s Navigation Center program started in 2015 with the late City of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s passion for helping the homeless move off the streets. This passion led him to champion a network of navigation centers citywide—intended to function as a coordinated entry system to assess and guide homeless individuals into stable, long-term housing.
Navigation Centers opened since 2015 have been temporary facilities whereas the SoMA Navigation Center is intended to be the first permanent facility. To be operated by The Salvation Army Golden State Division, this navigation center will provide a 125-bed transitional housing facility. Different from traditional shelters, navigation centers offer fewer barriers to entry, intensive case management, and welcome people with partners, pets and possessions for up to 30-day stays—while facilitating job searches and permanent housing solutions. The design includes a community dining room, lounge, meeting room, medical assessment room, storage, dog wash station, laundry, and offices for case management. The two-story building accommodates beds within three large dormitories with bathroom facilities serving both floors.