A homeless navigation center set to open in December or January in San Francisco’s Embarcadero has neighbors concerned that the city won’t keep promises made about public safety in the area.
Several voiced their concerns at the first meeting of the navigation center’s advisory group Wednesday. Now that construction on the shelter is underway neighbors point to the recent assault of a woman in the neighborhood and to the trouble surrounding centers that are already open.
"I know that everyone here seems very committed to the idea that you're going to help establish a safe and sane navigation center," said DJ Duffy, one of the attendees of the advisory group meeting. "As you see, none of us believe you."
Officials said that the San Francisco Police Department has already beefed up patrols in the area, and that once the shelter is open two officers will patrol the safety zone around it 10 hours per day.
"We have put more resources out here to put the community at ease a little bit and to try to address some of the problems preemptively," said Capt. Laura Knight.
While some neighbors raised concerns, others supported the navigation center.
"I think the city has always stood for progressive values and valuing the dignity of all people. I think the least we can do is offer people who want to get off the street a way to do that," said San Francisco resident Norma Altshuler.