The Drop-In Center services range from access
to personal hygiene to pre-case management
by highly skilled trauma-informed community health workers. Here, consumers can come to find peace, away from the roughness of the street and
the relentless weather. Ideally located in the heart of Chinatown, Salinas, the Drop-In Center (DIC) sees on average 200-250 consumers daily for the services we provide. Our DIC is open nine hours daily and we were able to keep our doors open through the pandemic with some adjustments. Over the last couple of years the DIC has taken on that extra loved look and we could really use some of your generous support to give it a fresh look. The Drop-In Center is often the first step on a consumer’s journey to secure housing. We have heard many stories from consumers who felt they had no place to go but heard from a friend on the street about Dorothy’s Place and came in to check us out. What they find is a warm smile, compassionate communication, and access to resources they may not have known are available to them.
Seating area and charging station for Consumers
One of two showers used by our Consumers
With the large amount of people coming in daily for services it becomes too much for the physical environment to bear. Every room in the DIC needs something, there are broken tiles on the floor, battered door frames, holes in the walls, and more. The disrepair of the environment is affecting both staff and consumers. Staff is reporting increased feelings of burnout and lack of privacy to conduct work. We are seeing more episodes of agitation from consumers and less enthusiasm to engage with staff and other consumers. To effectively continue this vital work, we must bring the DIC back into a repaired state and we are asking for your help
to do just that. We hope to create not only a safer infrastructure for staff and consumers, but it will also an environment that promotes a sense of peace and connection.
Dorothy’s Place is committed to providing trauma-informed care for our consumers as described by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The first principle in SAMHSA’s toolkit on trauma- informed care is “safety”. Safety includes how the physical environment provides a sense of calm and supports de-escalation for clients and staff. Our staff understands that homelessness is a psychological trauma and puts the brain into a chronic state of fight or flight mode that constantly releases cortisol and adrenaline. This can cause hypervigilance, loss of critical thinking skills, and loss of concentration. Although trauma informed design is an emerging concept, there is growing evidence to support that environmental design elements including color, lighting, and signage can profoundly impact people emotionally, contribute to feelings of calmness, and prevent re-traumatization.
An example of damaged flooring found throughout the Drop-In Center
Our current environment at the Drop-In Center does little to support consumers or staff in feeling safe or calm. We know that with your support we can make big changes by repairing making repairs to walls, flooring, and replacing damaged fixtures.
The Drop-In Center provides so much for our community member and we hope you will join us in creating a safe and welcoming space that honors both our consumers and our staff.
Beyond providing basic necessities, the Drop-In Center employs highly trained community healthcare workers (CHW) that help consumers with a variety of critical services. CHWs perform the invaluable task of building trust with individuals who have been let down many times by systems in place that claim to protect them. Most unsheltered consumers have been marginalized by society and criminalized by public policies. Through the Bridge Program, CHWs at the Drop-In Center provide pre- case management to consumers who are ready to take steps forward in linking with health care, housing, and social services. CHWs use trauma informed practice to complete intakes, gather or recover vital documents to prepare them for housing and health care applications. For consumers who are not ready for housing but still want help with resources, CHWs can assist with applying for income benefits, health insurance, obtaining vital documents, or securing transportation in the way of bus passes.
When a consumer is ready to forward with pre- case management, a CHW starts the process by making an appointment for intake. During the intake the consumer provides personal information that is entered into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). HMIS collects and tracks data on the provision of housing for individuals experiencing homelessness or are at risk of being homeless. They are also entered into Monterey and San Benito County Continuum of Care’s Coordinated (CoC) Assessment and Referral System (CARS). This process is to support the consumer in connecting to available resources, organizations, and service providers. It is not at all uncommon for individuals experiencing homelessness to lose vital documents such as social security card, immigration documents, identification. All items necessary to obtain housing, employment, benefits. The CHW contact local, state, federal, and at times international agencies to assist consumers in obtaining these vital documents. Based on information gathered from the intake and with the goals of the Consumer in mind, the CHW will be able to communicate housing opportunities and the programs they are associated with (low-income, subsidized housing, permanent supportive housing, and others). The CHW will support the consumer and continue to identify needs and barriers while building trust in the relationship until they are able to transition to a social worker from our Streets To Homes program that also operates out of the Drop- in Center.
Infograph courtesy of nihcm.org/publications/community-health-workers-infographic
Our CHWs play a vital role in our organization and our community. They are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of our community with a unique ability to establish trust that promotes better health and housing outcomes for our consumers. They help social workers, healthcare providers, property managers, and other service providers to have a better understanding of the consumers individual needs. The dedication our CHWs have to the work they do and to the people they serve is beyond compare. Please help us to provide them with an updated and safe place they deserve to work in.
Buddhist Churches of America
Central California Alliance For Health
Fort Ord Memorial Post 811
Lauralie and J Irvine Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County
Monterey County Department of Social Services
Salinas Community & Economic Development Department, Encampment Outreach
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
1st Church of Christ Scientist
Haynes Charitable Foundation
Order of Malta Western Association USA
Budget Inn Motel
William McNett III
Monterey County Probation Department David & Judith Mora
Jesse & Portia Reyna
Salinas Valley Community Church Santa Fe Mercados Inc
Shirley A and Wayne R Moon Foundation
St Joseph’s Parish
Toyota Motor North America Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula Walter G Canipe Foundation Patricia Walworth
American Supply Company Patricia Asmus
Michael & Ann Briley Geralyn Budenholzer Camaldolese Hermits of America
Chevron Matching Employee Funds
CHOMP United Way Monterey County Campaign
Community Church of the Monterey
Peninsula Women’s Association
Costco United Way Monterey County Campaign
Check out the Get Involved Section on our website for easy donation information!
Check with your employer for donation match!
Many companies have corporate giving programs in which the employer will match their employee’s donation.
Set it and forget it!
Sometimes the easiest way to give is to not think about it at all. On our donation page you can select the box next to “Make this a monthly recurring amount”
Tom & Rosemary Favazza Richard Foster
Italian Catholic Federation of CA, Branch 25 Nostra Signora Del Sasso
Amber & Mitchell Kastros
Lutheran Church of the Good
Roberto & Birthe Melendez
Sam Norris & Colette Erreca-Norris Northminster Presbyterian Church
Maria & Robert O’Farrell
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Employee Giving Nayan & Nimisha Patel PG&E Employee Match Thomas Prelle
Ruben & Yolanda Pulido
Spreckles Rummage Sale
James & Joan Stembridge
United Way California Capital Region
United Way Monterey County
Did you know that drop-in centers are located all over the world? Hard-to-reach populations (e.g., drug users, asylum seekers, minority or low-income groups with health disparities, and homeless people) face many barriers to accessing needed care and resources. They may have been alienated from healthcare and social services because of negative past experiences. Our staff has often seen consumers ignored in a clinic setting because they had been labeled as a “frequent flyer” or “drug seeker”. Other barriers include inconvenient location, hours of operation, and how programs are managed (e.g., zero tolerance policies).
Drop-in centers can serve as gateway to available services and opportunities for development. As staff builds trust with consumers, the consumer may be more likely to inquire about resources they may qualify for.
In 2003, Michael G. Wilson, PhD, Assistant Director, McMaster Health Forum, and Assistant Professor, McMaster University performed a systematic review of
the available research on drop-in centers and found evidence to support that homeless consumer who access drop-in centers that emphasized consumer choice reported significant improvement in life satisfaction, significant reduc- tions in anxiety, depression, and were more likely to achieve important goals. Consumers also reported having improved access to food, ability to stay clean, and less time spent on the streets. Drop-in centers can be found around the world with the goal being to provide low-barrier services and connection to resources that may otherwise seem impossible for those hard-to-reach popu- lations. We are proud to be a part of the global drop-in center community and we look forward to continuing our service.