“Dorothy Day Place represents a new model for preventing and ending homelessness – integrating dignified emergency shelter, permanent homes and services in one place. The historic public-private partnership behind Dorothy Day Place should serve as inspiration for what can be done to address the housing crisis we face. This is not the end of something – it is just the beginning of a new way of working together to solve our toughest challenges.” – Tim Marx, president and CEO of Catholic Charities
A two-building plan designed to prevent and end homelessness
Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Place is an integrated two-building campus designed to prevent and end homelessness by focusing on three components: dignified shelter, permanent homes and dedicated services that will create pathways to opportunities. This innovative new vision is the largest public-private partnership in housing and social services in Minnesota history. Dorothy Day Place has received broad, cross-sector support and was funded by an historic $100 million public-private capital campaign.
More than a shelter
Higher Ground Saint Paul, which opened in January 2017, is the first phase of Dorothy Day Place followed by the newly-completed Dorothy Day Residence and Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Saint Paul Opportunity Center. Each night, Higher Ground Saint Paul offers more than 500 people experiencing homelessness permanent homes, dignified shelter and pathways to opportunities. On the first floor, you will see separate, dignified shelters for 356 men and women. These bright and open spaces include semi-private bunk beds with electrical outlets, space for personal belongings and bed linens.
In a separate wing, women with severe alcohol and other substance use disorders have permanent homes and access to adequate support services for their specific needs. Up the stairs, a Pay-for-Stay shelter provides beds with minimal fees for men who are working. These fees are held in savings for clients to be used towards a first month’s rent or down payment to a landlord.
The second floor also houses an innovative medical respite program to provide medical care for homeless men and women with significant health issues as well as a room of their own where they can heal under the care of nurses. This program is funded by a unique partnership between three area hospitals: United Hospital (Allina Health), Regions Hospital (HealthPartners), and Saint Joseph’s Hospital (Fairview).
The top three floors of the building provide permanent homes for 193 men and women who were formerly homeless. Each resident has a room, and each floor includes shared kitchens, bathrooms and social spaces.
A complete campus to serve those most in need
The Saint Paul Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Residence is located across the street from Higher Ground Saint Paul. Dorothy Day Residence will provide an additional 177 units of housing and resources for those at risk of becoming homeless or those working to move up and out of homelessness. The Saint Paul Opportunity Center is an integrated, one-stop location connecting people to critical services to improve their health, income, housing stability and well-being.
Services will be provided by a variety of community partner organizations including:
- Catholic Charities
- Ramsey County
- Minnesota Community Care
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Systems
- Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans
- People Incorporated
- RADIAS Health
- University of Minnesota
- Mile in My Shoes
- Open Access Connections
Visitors to Dorothy Day Place will also find a number of vital services on-site including:
- Physical, mental and chemical health care services, including dental care and podiatry
- Employment training programs and job search assistance
- Housing search and placement services
- Access to veterans’ benefits, SNAP, Medical Assistance and other supports
- Financial and legal support services
- Nutritious meals, showers, laundry and storage
- Wellness and community-building opportunities
At Dorothy Day Place, people will find a healing, supportive place equipped to provide the care, training and services they need to get out of crisis and on to better days. People will find permanent homes and support to achieve and maintain stability. Dorothy Day Place will provide services each day to more than 1,000 people who have nowhere else to turn and its impacts will be felt statewide. Dorothy Day Place not only serves the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, but is also truly a statewide asset: over the past two years, it served residents from 69 of Minnesota’s 87 counties.
Now is the time
The completion of Dorothy Day Place comes at a critical time, as increasing rents, stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing have contributed to a housing and homelessness crisis. While progress has been made in reducing veteran and family homelessness, the number of unsheltered homeless in the Twin Cities is increasing at a rate that is five times higher than the rest of the country and nearly doubled from 2015 to 2018, resulting in more people staying in cars, tents and other places not meant for human habitation. State projections indicate the number of unsheltered homeless will continue to increase significantly in the coming year. On a single night in 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that there are 7,243 people without a home or shelter across the state of Minnesota, with 5,062 in the seven-county metro area.
A model that works
Since the first phase of Dorothy Day Place opened in 2017, the model is already seeing success and is serving as a foundation for new ideas. Community partners have launched initiatives to provide permanent homes to the top users of shelter in Ramsey County and to address the growth of unsheltered homelessness in our community.
By the numbers
People have a safe place to sleep in emergency shelter and permanent housing
Men and women in emergency and transitional shelter
Pay-for-Stay shelter guests
People have permanent supportive housing.
Dedicated units for veterans
Units for youth age 18-24
Units for women with severe alcohol and other substance use disorders
Units where individuals experiencing homelessness can recover after hospital stays.
People receive onsite services, 300 access daytime services.
Quotes from partners regarding the Dorothy Day Place opening
Tim Marx, president and CEO of Catholic Charities
Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota
Mayor Melvin Carter, Saint Paul
Doug Baker, Jr., chairman and CEO of Ecolab + co-chair of the capital campaign
Mary Brainerd, former president and CEO of HealthPartners + co-chair of the capital campaign
Andy Cecere, president and CEO of U.S. Bank + co-chair of the capital campaign
Mark Dienhart, President and CEO, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
Neal Loidolt, President and CEO, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)
Eric Jolly, Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundations
Jennifer Ho, Commissioner, Minnesota Housing
Jodi Harpstead, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services
Councilmember Rebecca Noecker, Saint Paul
Read some of the recent news coverage
I drive the development of Catholic Charities’ key stakeholder outreach strategy, manage oversight of public messaging, media relations, external web and social media development and content, and agency-wide materials.