This year we celebrate 37 years of caring for the poor, hungry and homeless in Saint Paul. At Catholic Charities we are working to build a community that understands the causes and impacts of poverty and with your support, create sustainable solutions to help our neighbors most In need.
There are many types of people coming from across Minnesota who seek help at what will be called Dorothy Day Place in downtown Saint Paul; the elderly and young adults, the working poor and the mentally ill, individuals and families from the Twin Cities and other regions of the state.
Job loses, illness, tragic personal losses and addictions often play a part in short-term homelessness and with the right help these challenges are solvable. The men and women who experience deep and persistent challenges that can cause them to be homeless often suffer from debilitating mental and physical illness or disabilities so significant that they may never be able to hold a job or pull themselves out of poverty, resulting in long-term homelessness. With your help, their lives can be safer, more stable and dignified. Many of those we serve during the day actually have a home, but are suffering from deep poverty and on the brink of becoming homeless. They seek assistance for meals and other services in order to maintain their housing. Without support they may lose their home and end up in emergency shelter.
In 1981, Dorothy Day Center opened to provide daytime services and respite to those in need. It was not designed or intended to be an overnight shelter. Nevertheless, due to increasing need, we began to provide services 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The community united around a new vision, Dorothy Day Place, a two-building campus in downtown Saint Paul designed to prevent and end homelessness by focusing on three components: dignified shelter, more permanent homes and dedicated self-sufficiency services that will create pathways out of poverty and homelessness. This innovative new vision inspired an historic $100 million public-private partnership, the largest in housing and social services in Minnesota state history. Phase I of the Dorothy Day Place is Higher Ground Saint Paul. Phase II is the Saint Paul Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Residence.
Higher Ground Saint Paul opened in January 2017, offering 473 people experiencing homelessness permanent homes, dignified shelter, and a pathway out of poverty.
This five-story building is providing dignified emergency shelter for 280 women and men and permanent housing with a range of options for 193 people who were formerly homeless. Each resident has a room with shared kitchens and bathrooms as well as social areas.
An innovative medical respite program provides 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 (HealthEast).
The second phase consists of a six-floor, 50,000-square-foot building to be built on the site of the current Dorothy Day Center. The building will include the Saint Paul Opportunity Center, 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, the Veterans Administration, and health care providers. The building will also include the Dorothy Day Residence, 177 permanent homes above the Opportunity Center.
Construction is underway on the new Saint Paul Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Residence above it. Catholic Charities hopes to complete construction on the Saint Paul Opportunity Center in summer 2019.