Average Length of Stay at the Navigation Center

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Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing

The Navigation Center, launched in March 2015, is a program of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, in collaboration with the Human Services Agency, Department of Public Health, Episcopal Community Services, and Community Housing Partnership. The Controller’s Office evaluated the pilot phase of the program. Two Navigation Centers—a 75-bed site at 1950 Mission Street, and a 93-bed site at the Civic Center Hotel—house San Francisco’s most difficult-to-serve homeless population and their pets while case managers connect them to public benefits and permanent housing. The program is designed to address barriers that prevent these individuals from accessing traditional services.


How the Navigation Center is Performing

An initial goal of the Navigation Center was to “rapidly” house clients. In practice, it takes roughly three months to achieve permanent housing, and for many clients, it takes much longer. Some of the hardest to serve clients have barriers, such as immigration status, that limit benefits eligibility and housing options. Substance use and related behaviors (e.g., missed appointments for benefit enrollment) may also play a role in lengthening client stays.

As a pilot program, the Navigation Center model has been evaluated, but City departments did not set formal performance targets. As the Navigation Center expands to additional sites, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is currently redesigning the program model to accommodate multiple different populations and service needs. HSH is now designing more appropriate performance metrics to reflect these changes and hence is no longer reporting average length of stay as of mid-September 2016.

How Performance is Measured

The graphic shows the total number of active and exited clients served at the Navigation Center since its opening in March 2015. Client counts are organized vertically by active status or exit type, and horizontally by length of stay at the Navigation Center. The source of this data is a proprietary database developed for the Navigation Center.

The measure provided on the scorecard page represents the average length of stay for all clients placed in permanent housing by the Navigation Center since its opening in March 2015.

Additional Information


Please click first on the chart above and then click the “Download” button in the bottom right corner of the visualization to view and download the data displayed in the chart.