Dorothy's Place

co-operating out of poverty

October Update

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 3:15pm

This has been a very busy year so far for the Franciscan Workers and Dorothy's Place. So busy, in fact, that we have neglected something extremely important:

Regularly informing you, our cherished supporters, of what's going on and why we do what we do.

So to correct that, we're going to give you a report of what's been happening for homeless folks in Chinatown since the "big sweep" this past March. But first, a "Call to Action."

We desperately need your investment. Even though we've been hugely successful in assisting people out of chronic homelessness, we need your support more than ever.

It's October, and we're at a particularly low point in cash flow. Many of our grants only reimburse us after the services we perform are expensed, and we've nearly run out of savings. We need to raise $80,000 quickly to improve our cash flow and insulate against emergencies.

We also need an additional $35,000 to finish the Chinatown Health Services Center, and of course, dollars to operate it next year.

If you believe that we truly can help people out of horrible, unhealthy, debilitating homelessness, invest in them now. If everyone gave a little, we'd have a lot in no time. And there's no time like the present.

Click here to help.

Your past investment helped Jimmy and Diane and scores of others.

  • Jimmy and Diane, now 59 and 54, spent 40 years homeless and addicted to heroin, making their living from drug and sex sales. Now, five months after joining House of Peace, they are clean, sober and getting legal advice and medical attention because of your investment. We expect that before a year has passed, they will be in an apartment they can sustain, their first permanent housing since they were 13 years old.

  • “Deborah" and her two teenage daughters are no longer living in an insecure RV, but in a safe and secure apartment with green space, because of your investment.
  • "Frank" and "Imelda" moved off the street, into Women Alive! Emergency Shelter (Imelda), then into House of Peace (Frank & Imelda), and finally into a Housing Authority Senior apartment because of your investment.
  • Carlos, injured many years ago at his job but never properly treated or compensated, spent many years homeless and self-medicating his pain. He now lives in his own studio apartment and receives excellent medical care because of your investment.
  • "Anastacia," after months commuting from her job on the Peninsula to stay nightly at Women Alive! Emergency Shelter, is now in her own apartment near her work, thanks to your investment.

And now, here are some updates about what has been happening since March.

Encampment Sweep Update

  • In March, the encampments of 250 homeless people were dismantled by contractors of the City of Salinas, dispersing more than 200 homeless throughout the City.
  • The remaining 50 people, who can't exist without the services provided by Dorothy's Place, remained in alleyways and along Bridge and Soledad Streets.
  • Contractors returned semi-monthly to clean up the area, requiring campers to pack and move, removing thousands of pounds of trash.
  • Still, the number of people served at Dorothy's Place rose to record numbers. The safer, less compressed neighborhood encouraged lots of people to eat at Dorothy's Kitchen, and take advantage of essential services at the Drop-In Center.

Housing Update (Learn more here.)

  • Since January, we've done intakes and assessments of more than 150 people.
  • More than 70 are currently engaged with one of our case managers and following a road map toward housing.
  • We are proud to say that in the last nine months, we have assisted 27 people into transitional shelter and permanent housing.

Drop-In Center Update

  • Thanks to an infusion of County social services dollars, our Drop-In Center more than doubled its service and staff.
  • Now open 10.5 hours every day, it served 380 different clients in August alone. Use of showers has increased by 271%. Use of clothing services has increased by 129%.
  • Between our Drop-In Center and Women Alive!, we are open for safe shelter every hour of every day except for one transition hour in the morning and one in the evening.

Health Services Update (Learn more here.)

  • A health vulnerability assessment of 160 homeless people told us that there is a health crisis that is keeping people homeless in Chinatown.
  • We now know beyond doubt that more than 75% of those we serve require a mental health intervention, an addiction intervention, or both.
  • More than 60% require medical attention. And nearly 50% are between the ages of 46-59, too old to be competitive in the job market, too young to receive social security retirement.
  • The pilot Chinatown Health Services Center will open in October, and will meet many of the most immediate needs of the homeless.

Of course, we don't provide all these services ourselves. We proudly serve with the City of Salinas, Monterey County Health Services and a score of nonprofit service providers, like Housing Authority of the County of Monterey, Community Human Services, and Door to Hope.

We also work with landlords to encourage them to accept our clients as tenants, often with a Section 8 voucher, and a full year of follow-on case management. Good for our client, good for the landlord.

We cannot and will not tolerate the suffering of fellow human beings who find themselves in desperate circumstances. We are grateful and hopeful to have partners who share our commitment to achieving a real, compassionate solution of health, housing, and employment.

Of course, all this progress has taken a lot of dollars and other resources to deliver. Although we are better supported by City, County and foundation grants than ever before, there is still much of our budget that is not supported by grants. Our grant funders invest in us because they are counting on leveraging their support with community fundraising.

Again, we need your help to continue to provide these services for homeless folks who need them. Donate.

We'll keep you informed of our progress, and we invite you to stay connected as well. And if you know others who would want to be informed and involved, we hope you'll share this message, and invite them to sign up for our news.

Your investment in the potential of our guests is truly a magnificent gift.

And a post script:

If you're a landlord or property manager, talk with us about units that can be rented with Section 8 vouchers. We will extend a full year of support to each person we place to help them be successful tenants.