Dorothy's Place logo, showing a heart within a home

Dorothy's Place

co-operating out of poverty

  • Homeless women with dog

    We need you NOW to be our partner to assist homeless people into housing.

    We decided a couple years ago that simply providing basic needs for our guests and clients was not enough. We adopted a trauma-informed strategy to assist Salinas’ most health-vulnerable people out of encampments and into sustainable housing. Since 2016, we have sustainably housed more than 100 people, all of whom were chronically homeless, all of whom had critical medical and mental health issues. We call what we do "Streets to Homes", and you can help.

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  • Chinatown Encampments

    Homeless people camp on the streets in Chinatown because they feel they have little choice. Too often, that's true.

    And so the City and the police refrain from enforcing the law by making the campers move. The trouble is, after a while the encampments grow - and so do the threats to health and safety: to the campers themselves, and to everyone else who lives or works in Chinatown.

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  • Dorothy's Place

    Welcome to Dorothy's Place

    For more than 3 decades, Dorothy’s Place, operated by the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra, has been dedicated to serving people who experience homelessness, poverty, and marginalization in Monterey County. We have continued to expand our understanding of chronic homelessness with the desire to create a trauma-informed safety net and springboard for health and self-sufficiency.

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Who We Are

In 1982, 65 egg-salad sandwiches were distributed from the trunk of a car on Soledad Street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Salinas, an area known for abandoned buildings and abandoned lives. April of 2015 marked 33 years of service for the group that became the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra. This same organization of Community, Board, volunteers, and donors created Dorothy's Place Hospitality Center in Chinatown, re-envisioned an intentional community of Franciscan Workers, created a free health clinic for the poor, succeeded in creating an emergency shelter for street women in Salinas, and created a successful community of formerly broken and abandoned lives now living together in mutual support in House of Peace.

House of Peace

Dorothy's Place

Dorothy’s Place is now the anchor of life in Salinas’ Chinatown, providing Dorothy’s Kitchen, our Drop-In Center, Women Alive! Emergency Shelter, and House of Peace Transitional Living Program

WE ARE Dorothy’s Place, stepping into the future surrounded by the pain of more than 200 homeless campers that need our understanding and opportunities to reclaim their dignity and health. We ask you to join us – BE the SOLUTION to chronic homelessness.

Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra, a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation, was named intentionally to honor St. Francis of Assisi, who had a special affinity with the poor, and Father Junípero Serra, the Franciscan friar and missionary that pioneered the Central Coast region of California. Our mission is:

With love, respect and compassion, the Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra provide essential services and transitional support to people experiencing the injustice of homelessness and extreme poverty.

Homeless woman at Dorothy's Place

Dorothy Day (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980) was an American journalist turned social activist, who, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement. She became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. She espoused nonviolence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden. Her commitment to social justice spanned most of the twentieth century, including her support of the Russian Revolution in 1917, then turning around in 1971 to accuse the Soviets of mistreating Alexander Solzenitsin.

The Catholic Worker movement started with the Catholic Worker newspaper, created to stake out a neutral, pacifist position in the increasingly war-torn 1930s. This grew into a "house of hospitality" in the slums of New York City and then a series of farms for the poor to live together communally. The movement quickly spread to other cities in the United States, and to Canada and the United Kingdom; more than 30 independent but affiliated CW communities had been founded by 1941. Well over 100 communities exist today, all over the world.

Dorothy Day's autobiography The Long Loneliness was published in 1953. Day's account of the Catholic Worker movement, Loaves and Fishes, was published in 1963. A popular movie called Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story was produced in 1996 about the life and struggles that Day endured. The first full-length documentary about her, Dorothy Day: Don't Call Me a Saint, premiered at Marquette University, where her papers are housed, on November 29, 2005.

Solutions / Programs

If you had nowhere to live, where would you get water to drink?  Where would you go to use the toilet?

If you had no job, and therefore no income, how would you pay for food? How would you keep what you didn’t eat fresh for the next meal? Where would you cook it?

If you had a car but no money, how would you pay for gas? Or repairs? If you had no car or money, how would you get to work or to the doctor? 

If you suffered from trauma, whether as a veteran experiencing PTSD or a victim of domestic violence, how would you even know what help to request, if you could bring yourself to request it?

These are some of the issues confronted by those who are often referred to as the “chronically homeless,” or those who, even with assistance, find it difficult to cope with the demands of modern American life and stay sufficiently housed.

Dorothy’s Place embraces the model of trauma-informed care. This two-pronged approach helps to address both the underlying trauma that keeps the individual in a state of chronic homelessness, and the immediate needs of food, hygiene, and social services advocacy. Each program is tailored to the needs of the population served.

The Drop-in Center is a space in which our guests can take care of basic hygiene needs, access social and health services, receive news and current event information, and socialize in a safe and friendly environment. People are able to receive mail and have their laundry done, and are treated with respect and dignity that is often denied to those in their position.learn more
Dorothy's Place
Drop-In Center
Dorothy’s Kitchen provides approximately 150 hot breakfasts and 200 hot lunches every day of the year for those who are hungry. Meal offerings include fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade organic salads and dressings, and healthy beverages, all supported by a generous agricultural community in the Salinas Valley, and prepared to optimize nutrition for very vulnerable people.learn more
Dorothy's Kitchen
Dorothy's Kitchen
Women Alive! is an overnight shelter for single women, including transgender women, committed to listening to, encouraging, and empowering women. Every night staff and volunteers join together to provide safety, dinner, showers, laundry, bedding, and case management to women in need.learn more
Homeless woman hugging her little dog
Women Alive!
The House of Peace is a transitional residence for up to twelve adults, who support one another as they transition from out of homelessness. A client-centerd life plan is facilitated for each resident, assisting them with medical care, employment, financial literacy, and ultimately independent living or permanent supportive housing.learn more
House of Peace
Our health clinic provides free health care one day a week as part of the Drop-in Center. Case managers and advocates from our Drop-in Center, Women Alive!, and the House of Peace work with volunteer medical professionals to assist anyone who is in need of health care.learn more
Dorothy's Place Health Clinic
Health Clinic
St. Clare’s Corner is primarily oriented toward food and clothing support to our farm worker community, and operates during the winter months, when families dependent on the agricultural work of the Salinas area are most in need.learn more
Saint Clare's Corner
St. Clare's Corner

How We Get There

There are so many ways you can help!

give a GIFT of food, clothes or supplies.

Become a VOLUNTEER at Dorothy’s Place.

Thank you for joining us in this work of solidarity and compassion.