Could this property become a Hummingbird Place?
The Salvation Army at 1156 Valencia St. Photo by Loi Almeron

Neighbors of 1156 Valencia St. said they are waiting to hear more at Monday night’s community meeting, before making up their minds about plans to convert the Salvation Army property a stone’s throw from 22nd Street into “the City’s first Community Hummingbird Place” shelter for homeless residents with behavioral health issues.

“Right now we have no comment either for or against the proposal, as we’d like to stay open to ideas until we have all of the facts at hand,” said Sean Quigley, president of the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association. 

District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced a resolution to approve and authorize the Department of Public Health to lease the Salvation Army property for $404,000 per year and use it as a 30-bed, 24-hour behavioral health respite center for homeless people for the next three to five years.

Tipping Point Community, a San Francisco-based non-profit focused on uplifting poverty in the Bay Area, provided a $3 million grant to partially fund the Hummingbird Place project.

Although some neighboring business owners said they did not know about the proposal and Monday night’s 6:30 p.m. meeting at 1156 Valencia St. But, when asked about it, they said they were anxious to know more.

“I trust that the city will make sure to do the right thing,” said Laura Ash, owner of Scarlet Sage Herb Co., located at 1193 Valencia St., about 200 feet away from the proposed Hummingbird Place shelter.

Ash said she and her staff have talked about the gravity and importance of addressing the issue of homelessness in the city. They plan to take part in Monday’s community meeting to learn more about the proposal, she said.

Homelessness “deeply affects my community,” she said. “We can figure out the best way to address it together.”

Erin Mundy, legislative aide to Mandelman, said the supervisor has looked for sites for since taking office more than a year ago. The proposed site lies close to the border of District 9, which already holds a large portion of the city’s shelter beds. 

Currently, more than half of treatment beds being offered by the Health Department through FindTreatmentSF are in District 9. Mayor Breed’s goal of opening over 1,000 shelter beds in the city will put one in four shelter beds in the Mission as well this year.

The Health Department said that its outreach workers started going around the two-block radius of the property last week to distribute flyers about the proposal and the upcoming community meeting. But most of those interviewed did not know about the project yet. Outreach workers will continue to hand out flyers today.

Mandelman said the facility would be like a traditional navigation center that “allows people to come in with partners, companion pets, and possessions, and provides essential services like laundry, access to showers and bathrooms, food and snacks, and a day drop-in program.

Mundy said that The Salvation Army “ultimately plans to have affordable housing” at the Valencia location, but that’s still far down the line. So they took the opportunity to lease it as a Hummingbird Place for the next few years, she said.

Glad to see relief coming to our neighborhood,” Beth Burkhard, a resident commented on Mandelman’s Facebook post about the shelter.And hope this model pans out as a way to handle issues in our community within the community.”

Others are warier.

“Are you for or against this on Valencia Street?” one wrote. “I’ll be at the meeting to gather more info. And eager to hear from others,” another commenter answered.

Mundy said that the community has been “generally open-minded” about the proposal so far. “We want to make sure we’re working with the Department of Public Health to mitigate and address some possible negative impacts and concerns that we  anticipate.”

“We have to see what the people would say on Monday,” she said. Mundy said that they are open to hosting smaller meetings to further discuss the proposal as well.

The only Hummingbird Navigation Center that exists today is a 29-bed facility located on the General Hospital campus on 23rd and Potrero Avenue.

“Though the 30 beds being proposed at 1156 Valencia would more than double our current stock of Hummingbird beds, it still barely scratches the surface of the overall need,” said Supervisor Mandelman. “That said it is a step in the right direction.”

The Department of Public Health plans to open the Valencia Community Hummingbird Place later this spring.

The resolution is now assigned to the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee for approval.

Notice of Community Meeting.

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  1. This is a very bad idea and this is nothing to do with compassion. We keep considering hispanic population in this neighborhood as the second citizen and treat them as if like they do not need anything better. This neighborhood has to be cleaned from homeless and drug addicts so that our community can cultivate its schools and provide a better place for kids and families.

    I really do not understand why we choose this location while there are tons of other spaces in the south of San Francisco. Do we really want drug addicts accessible to drugs by choosing a place in the city? I want to understand the motivation.

    Like someone said, these shelters do not clean up the local neighborhood. In contract, they rather become the attraction of other homeless and drug addicts in the city. I am living a block away and I did not get a notice as well.

    Does anyone know legal remedies that we have to take this decision to court? Please reach out to me.

  2. I was at this meeting and i find this reporting to not be quite an accurate depiction of what occurred. While it is true there was neighborhood opposition vocalized, there were also many numbers of people who spoke up in favor of the facility. As a matter of fact, those in support may have very well have been the majority in the room. It is an unfortunate journalistic decision to focus so much on the negative responses while neglecting to mention all of the eagerness to have Hummingbird Place in the area. As a close neighbor to the planned facility, I was heartened to learn that so many of my neighbors welcomed a respite for their chronically mentally ill neighbors who are in crisis. I wish this had been represented better in this story.

  3. I have two young kids and live a block from the proposed site. There are no less than 8 schools, nearly all elementary or K-8, within a 2 block radius of the facility, as well as several small, in-home day cares.

    This center’s primary purpose is to ease the burden of the SF General site, not to address the homeless population within the immediate area. My homeless neighbors, some who have been here for years, are nice, friendly, respectful people whom I don’t feel pose a threat to my family and I’d love to see them get the help they need. I’d be 100% for this if it were to address the homeless population that already exists in this neighborhood, which could fill the 30 beds many times over, but it won’t. What it will do is import the mentally ill and drug addicts from another part of the city to the heart of a neighborhood full of school-aged children where they can come and go as they please. This is a terrible idea.

    Everyone agrees that we need more sites that support the homeless population, but the other SF neighborhoods need to step up, not just the Mission. Of course, Supervisor Mandelman was vocal about how shameful it was that there aren’t more of these facilities, so why doesn’t he open one up in his own district? Supervisor Ronen, the supervisor of the district where the proposed site is located, was noticeably absent.

    The City will likely ram this through without taking any of the community’s legitimate concerns into account, which explains the non-existent outreach prior to last night’s meeting. Most of the neighbors who were there only found out about it the day of due to a posting on NextDoor. Shameful.

  4. If Ronen does not push back against this absolutely transparent effort to hoist ANOTHER navigation center on the mission she will be more imperiled than ever before. This is a CRITICAL transit artery, right in between Noe and Bernal AND the mission. We have so much fucking room in SoMa and in industrial areas, why would we build this (horrendously costly, inefficiently run) homeless vector RIGHT next to numerous schools, a hospital, and in the middle of a transit hub?

  5. That’s not good for the hood :(. A good friend of mine lives on 8th street @ Howard near a homeless shelter and it’s spooky when i walk from the bus stop to his apartment, i need to watch over my shoulder all the time! Also the Harvest Urban Market owner on that street is in a constant battles and struggles with the homeless/ mentally ill people, he is about to throw the towel soon.

  6. I believe in the right place right resources and right funding that this will help many people especially those whom are seeking to do the right thing or need help with finding mental health to help themselves .Thank God for you. People putting this project together much love and God bless you all.

  7. Rafael M should have this center across from his residence within District 8.

    This is a horrible idea to have this center near our schools. We have a lot of homeless people in the neighborhood and that’s fine – but to have mentally ill and heavy drug users homeless in high concentration hang out in the neighborhood.

    Is the building zoned for overnight stay?

  8. 400k/year for relatively unimproved space. I still really haven’t heard an argument against spending that money on a far superior place outside of SF in semi-rural area and say, “hey, we want to help, but you must earn the right to live in sf like everyone else”

    You could find a massive building and relatively ample staffing further east where jobs are scarce

    1. Exactly, the idea that these people deserve to live here just because they ended up mentally ill / addicted to drugs here and were unable to leave is the most absurd premise, and seems to inform a great deal of city policy at this point. There’s no “housing crisis”, there’s a lack of public transit crisis. If we had far better public transit, then we could easily build housing on all the cheap land that is cheap purely because it isn’t connected to transit

  9. FYI, the “Hummingbird” center near Potrero & 26th has 26 beds, and costs #3.3M/yr to operate. That translates to $100,000/yr per bed! Thats pretty pricey for a cot, some snacks, storage and laundry service.

  10. Great location! Tons of avocado toast and great bars and restaurants close by. Easy access to Noe if you want it. Enjoy!

  11. A few thoughts here.

    First, district 8 Supervisor Mandelman is effectively pushing this to the VERY edge of his district–and not “close to” as he would like you to believe. The other side of Valencia is Ronen’s district 9.

    Second, there are nearly NO shelters/centers in Noe Valley or the Castro area, aka the rest of district 8.

    This seems like a disingenuous way to push yet another shelter onto the Mission neighborhood while keeping Noe and Castro Heights squeaky clean. To be honest, these centers do seem to be quite helpful and we should seek to finance/open more of them. But we also have to recognize that every neighborhood in SF needs to pull their weight here. You can’t just always push problems to the Tenderloin, and to a lesser extent, the Mission.

    1. To be fair, the Castro Safeway and parking lot are doing their fair share in keeping the homeless fed and sheltered. And in any case, we should have both.

      1. COMMENT
        Buen punto,”Alimentación “,las tiendas como safeway deberían tener una hora (8:pm) para cuándo van alimpiar la comida que no vendieron ,la regalen dignamente en un stand afuera de sus tiendas.Pero TODOS los safeway y otra cadenas de negocios..Ayudaría que nuestros más vulnerables pobres ,no sé expongan a que los humillen y maltraten cuando entran a los restaurantes a pedir comida.Y no se las den fría si es invierno..

    2. Yeah I see your point. But it is better to take low hanging fruit and extend compassion to as many as you can vs. getting caught up in the process of people fighting it and delaying for extended periods of time.

      Here you have property, funding, etc. So full speed ahead.