By Meghan Hall
At the beginning of the year, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new goal to expand the city’s Homelessness Response System. Less than a month later, in February, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a new navigation center specifically geared toward transitional age youth. The center, located at 888 Post Street, will provide 75 beds as well as access to employment training and skill building. Construction of the project is underway, with completion expected by the end of the year.
Homelessness among transitional age youth—typically those who are between 18 to 24 years—has become a more prevalent problem in San Francisco as housing prices continue to climb.
“Homelessness among young people has decreased in San Francisco as we have increased our investment. Having a place where young people can come indoors with peers, gain safety and access our system of care has been a long-held goal for our young people, HSH and our partners,” said Jeff Kositsky, Director, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
According to the City of San Francisco, there are more than 1,000 transitional age youth that are experiencing homelessness in the city, and 83 percent of those young people are considered unsheltered. Currently, San Francisco only has one 40-bed shelter dedicated specifically to serving youth between 18 to 24 years of age.
Tidewater Capital originally acquired the project site in 2019 for $9.999 million, or about $313 per square foot, and is partnering with Skyline Capital Builders on the property’s full-building repositioning. The 31,968 square foot building was originally constructed in 1920, according to public property documents.
The Board of Supervisors also authorized the lease of the building for 20 years, with a base rent of $1.5 million. The City also has the option to purchase the building for $29 million from now until August 2022.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with the various stakeholders involved in this groundbreaking public-private partnership aimed at addressing one of our City’s most pressing issues,” said Craig Young, Managing Principal, Tidewater Capital in a statement made after the project’s approval. “We are proud that 888 Post will be transformed into an ecosystem to support at risk youth through shelter and services that will help them get back on their feet.”
Tidewater Capital declined The Registry’s request for updated comment.
Upon completion, 888 post will not only provide beds and 24/7 homeless shelter access, but also intervention, rehabilitation and guidance programs. The second level of the project will include community service space, meeting rooms, a dining area and a lounge. The third level will include the 75-bed dormitory with lockers, showers and a health clinic. Additionally, to offset some of the cost of the City’s rent to Tidewater Capita, the ground floor will be sublet to Goodwill, which will operate a training and career center. Goodwill will pay approximately a third of the rent under the agreement.
“Housing and employment are inextricably linked. The Goodwill Training and Career Center at 888 Post Street will offer proven vocational programs and services, including critical digital skill building, to transitional age youth in our community,” said San Francisco Goodwill President and CEO William Rogers. “As a nonprofit, our mission is to create second chances through training and the dignity of work. In partnership with the Mayor’s office, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and Supervisor Peskin’s office, we will work together to break the cycle of homelessness and chronic unemployment for some of the city’s most vulnerable populations.”
The project is part of Mayor Breed’s “Rising Up Campaign,” which specifically is working to cut youth homelessness in San Francisco in half by 2023. The campaign is just one part of a wider initiative spearheaded by Breed in recent years. The city’s 2017 Point-In-Time-Count estimated that there were as many as 7,500 individuals throughout San Francisco experiencing homelessness, with about 4,400 living unsheltered in any given night. San Francisco’s first Navigation Center opened in 2015; since then, the City has opened eight Navigation Centers, six of which are currently in operation and offer more than 600 beds. The City is hoping to have 1,000 beds by the end of the year, and an additional 2,000 new shelter beds over the next two years. The placements will include master-leased housing, behavioral health beds, scattered-site supportive housing and more as San Francisco works to build a comprehensive shelter system.