Dorothy's Place

co-operating out of poverty

Who We Are

  • Dorothy's Place, Salinas CA

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.

Why Are We Here?

Why does Dorothy’s Place exist?

We exist to serve our marginalized neighbors in Chinatown, to compassionately offer hospitality, safety, guidance toward a life of greater health and happiness, and a bridge to services they might feel are unavailable to them elsewhere.

Why are the Dorothy’s Place programs needed?

The people we serve need a friend who understands that they have been traumatized. They need safety, dignity, and purpose.

Why should the community care?

The way many in our neighborhood live effects everyone in the community ethically, morally and financially. We cannot be successful as a community until life for everyone is just and healthy.

The Beginning

April 7, 1982 saw a small group of Catholic Worker volunteers make 65 egg salad sandwiches and pack them up in their car for distribution on Soledad Street in 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, initiated numerous outreach projects such as Youth Alive and Camp St. Francis, 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.

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.

We are now in the midst of a neighborhood revitalization process - the Chinatown Renewal Project. We are confidently walking into a blessed future of great possibilities for all our guests, our neighbors, the City of Salinas, and Monterey County as a whole. Although we are delighted to have served more than 2 million meals in 33 years, we are even more excited to promote trauma-informed care for those experiencing chronic homelessness in Monterey County. Your participation in the life and projects of the Franciscan Workers has a direct and daily impact upon the lives of many, many people – one person at a time.

Samantha was a bright teenager living with her parents in their car on Soledad Street. She used to come into Dorothy’s Place for breakfast every day, cradling a cup of hot coffee with cream and sugar in her hands to get warm. One day after breakfast, she walked out onto Soledad Street to discover her parents had driven away. And they didn’t come back. When Samantha was abandoned at age sixteen by her parents, she had no hope left in her life. She believed her life was over. She ran from profound grief to drugs and then prostitution to pay for drugs. When not in jail, she was a guest of Dorothy's Place, and slowly began to trust again and become part of our family. She finally found the courage to truly live once more. Samantha became drug free, engaged in a healthy, trusting relationship, employed and self-sustaining.

Your interest in and support of Dorothy's Place was profoundly important to Samantha, as it continues to be for countless others. We encourage you to explore our web site and consider the many ways in which you might be able to help or join us.