Working to get back to a working life

“Dorothy Day Center keeps me nourished. I can go to the clinic here. It gives me a roof over my head.”

Warren, 53

Each night, Warren sleeps in Fort Snelling—or his interpretation of it.

Warren’s “Fort Snelling” is a mat in the corner of Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day Center. The wall on one side and the lockers on the other, Warren stashes his belongings between his body and the lockers and it gives him a feeling of security.

“People can’t get to my stuff,” he said. Being in the corner also helps with his claustrophobia. If he’s going to be in a crowded room, at least it needs to be on the edge.

Warren, 53, has been coming to Dorothy Day Center for about one year. A lifelong Minnesotan who grew up in the western suburbs, Warren said he’s known about Dorothy Day Center for a long time, but never expected it would become his refuge.

When he lost his job doing maintenance at an apartment building, he lost his home along with it.

Warren has been “earning his keep” while at Dorothy Day Center, volunteering as much as he can. He works in the kitchen each morning preparing breakfast, helps with cleaning and lays the mats down each evening.

“Dorothy Day Center keeps me nourished. I can go to the clinic here. It gives me a roof over my head,” he said. “Volunteering here keeps my mind off of things that take me to dark places.”

While he is thankful for all Dorothy Day Center has provided in a dark time of his life, Warren said he is working to get ahead again. He’s attending job training classes with Twin Cities RISE! and is looking forward to being independent again.

“Hopefully I’ll be out of here soon. I dream about a house, a good job and relationships. When I lost my phone I lost all of my relationships,” he said.


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