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.
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.
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.