Dorothy's Place

co-operating out of poverty

Chinatown Health Services Center

  • Construction Tour

    Jill gives tours of Chinatown Health Services Center.

  • Jill Allen Speaking at a podium at the China Town Health Center

    Chinatown Health Services Center preview press conference.

  • Construction Tour

    Tour of Chinatown Health Services Center.

  • Jill Allen Speaking at a podium at the China Town Health Center
  • Lobby of the Chinatown Health Services Center.

Chinatown Health Services Center Plan

The Chinatown Health Services Center at 115 E Lake St is now open as a pilot health service center for the chronically homeless. In this case, “health” includes everything that helps a person be healthier, including acquisition of housing.

We opened with no cost showers and restrooms available between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 pm, daily, and case management for all consumers ready to work on life change and permanent housing.

But another major improvement that it brings to Chinatown is the availability of much needed health services. For the last year, we’ve already had medical care three days a week in Chinatown, from Clinica de Salud and our own Dorothy’s Place Wednesday clinic, and that will continue with Clinica in the parking lot adjacent to the Health Services Center.

The innovation is in the availability of mental health and addiction outpatient treatment services. We now have an evidence base to prove that 75% of our consumers need mental health and addiction services, and the services available to people with transportation and consistency issues (like our consumers) are woefully inadequate. The Chinatown Health Services Center brings six different agencies, two private therapists and many other partners to provide:

  • Outpatient mental health
  • Therapy/counseling
  • Outpatient drug treatment
  • HIV/Hepatitis C testing/counseling
  • County Public Health Nurse
  • Fatherhood group
  • High blood pressure & diabetes management classes

And more services are on the way.

This plan is actually driven by a larger plan, the Monterey County “Lead Me Home” Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. The plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors in November 2011. The Chinatown Health Services Center addresses two goals of the Ten Year Plan:

  • Provide integrated, wraparound services to facilitate long-term residential stability. Key services will be linked to housing. 
  • Initiate the creation of a “home health center” or clinic offering a variety of flexible health-related services as a catalyst project for the Salinas Chinatown Human Services Campus.

The Salinas Downtown Community Board, a group of Chinatown property owners, residents, social service providers and government representatives, is intent on meeting these goals in Chinatown, and has been in discussions and gathering data for four years. It facilitated the proposal that was made to the City for the Health Services Center property. That proposal has two primary goals:

  • Sanitation - provision of public access showers and restrooms 24-hours every day. 
  • Coordinated Assessment and Referral System (CARS) – the first step in meeting the goal of integrated services at system level and client level. In CARS, a person can enter into the system of care providers at any provider’s office, and the information gathered will be accessible by all providers so that the person does not need to apply for services over and over again. The plan for each client is client-centered, that is, tailored to the goals that the client sets and service providers work collaboratively, in integrated case management, to meet the goals of the client. This system also assesses client vulnerability, and the most vulnerable clients go to the head of the list for services.

The outcomes that everyone is looking for in the pilot social service center are sanitation, return of human dignity, engagement, client- centered plan, integrated wrap-around services that will lift the client out of homelessness and into sustainable living. The universal outcome of everyone at the discussion table is getting people out of encampments and into sustainable housing.


To learn more and see our progress from the beginning, watch the playlist below.


Being Homeless in the City of Salinas and Monterey County


  • On January 28, 2015, 867 homeless people were counted in the City of Salinas as part of the Monterey County Homeless Census and Survey, an increase of 63% since 2013.
  • The homeless population in the rest of Monterey County has decreased since 2013 by 30%.
  • 73% of people who are homeless in Salinas are unsheltered, meaning they live on the street, in abandoned buildings, in vehicles, or in encampments. That is 7% more than the homeless in the rest of Monterey County.
  • Young homeless women are four to 31 times more likely to die early as housed young women. The average life expectancy in the homeless population is estimated between 42 and 52 years, compared to 78 years in the general population.


The principal causes of food insecurity (living in constant fear of not being able to feed oneself or one’s family) in the United States are:

  • Unemployment
  • High housing costs
  • Low wages and poverty
  • Lack of access to food stamps
  • Medical or health costs

The homeless rank good health, a steady job, income, and housing above obtaining food, which are all of those same factors mentioned above that are causes of food insecurity.

Hunger causes:

  • Impaired concentration, reduced alertness and comprehension, and poor judgment
  • Gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, headaches, reduced strength, and poor motor control
  • Significant increases in social introversion, irritability, anxiety, anger, and depression

Mental Illness and Addiction

For many homeless people, substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness. Often, people with untreated mental illnesses use street drugs as an inappropriate form of self-medication. Many programs for homeless people with mental illnesses do not accept people with substance abuse disorders, and many programs for homeless substance abusers do not treat people with mental illnesses.

  • 29% with drug or alcohol abuse
  • 28% with psychiatric or emotional conditions
  • 17% with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • 8% with traumatic brain injury

Successful supported housing programs include outreach and engagement workers, a variety of flexible treatment options to choose from, and services to help people reintegrate into their communities.


Two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty. Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.

Number of people living below poverty level (US Census 2010):

  • 15.4% of the people in the United States
  • 15.9% of the people in California
  • 17% of the people in Monterey County
  • 21% of the people in Salinas

Declining wages have put housing out of reach for many workers: in every state, more than minimum wage is required to afford a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent. In the 2008 Conference of Mayors report, 11 out of 19 cities reported an increase in employed homeless people.

Sponsorship Opportunities

We are seeking social justice and health justice minded sponsors for the operation of the Chinatown Health Services Center.

Franciscan Workers (Dorothy’s Place) is the coordinating agent for services in the Chinatown Health Services Center, a partnership between the City of Salinas and Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra. We facilitate use of the Center for all agencies providing services there, but we also ourselves provide case managers, clinical supervision, a facility manager, and the restroom and shower staff. Although we have some initial grant funding and an agreement with Shoreline Workforce Development (that will subsidize part of the restroom/shower staff), we must seek sponsorships and fundraise annually to ensure the operation of the Center.

Please consider the following sponsorship opportunities, which come with sponsor recognition in the facility, but also know that any size sponsorship is appreciated!

You can sponsor, for one year:

  • Program manager - $40,000
  • Case manager - $29,000
  • Clinical supervisor - $20,000
  • Hire of a client onto the restroom/shower staff - $14,500
  • Sanitation supplies - $10,000

Facility Floor-Plan and Naming Opportunities

Chinatown Health Service Center Investor Naming Opportunities

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Multi-Purpose Training Room

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Four Out-Patient Treatment/Counseling Rooms

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Welcome Center

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Hygiene Center

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Shower Center

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Towel Laundry

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Secure Night Entry

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Drinking Water Fill-up Station

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