San Francisco's Port Commission has unanimously approved a homeless shelter in the Embarcadero neighborhood, despite fierce objections from some of the wealthy area's residents. The city says approval for the waterfront "Navigation Center" was granted for two years, with an option to extend for another two years if it successfully reduces the number of unsheltered homeless people in the area, NBC Bay Area reports. At an emotional meeting Tuesday night, residents denounced the 200-bed "mega shelter" and complained that it would become a "magnet" for the city's thousands of homeless people, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. An estimated 4,000 people, many of them displaced by gentrification, sleep on San Francisco's streets every night.
Mayor London Breed described the center as an important part of the city's plan to get people off the streets and into shelter and services. "We simply need more Navigation Centers, more permanent supportive housing and more affordable housing throughout our city if we are going to change the conditions on our streets and help those in need," she said. Residents—some of whom waved signs at the meeting reading "This is San Francisco's Front Yard"—have vowed to keep fighting. "It’s unfortunate that the industry around homelessness and affordable housing was able to prevail at this stage, but this is far from over," attorney Andrew Zacks tells the Guardian. He was hired by residents who started a GoFundMe anti-shelter campaign. (GoFundMe itself donated to a rival campaign.)