Contributed by House of Peace Program Director Roman Perez
It is early morning and as I stand in front of the
door of Mark Youtsey, I can smell the aroma of
fresh brewed coffee escaping his new home. Mr.
Youtsey opens the door and in front of me is a man
with exhausted eyes due to working until early
morning. Still, he smiles and it is a welcoming
smile. Mr. Youtsey welcomes me in and provides a
tour of his apartment. It isn’t a big apartment, but
according to him, “The lease is under my name and
that means this roof is mine and I intend for it to be
mine for a long time”. He offers me coffee, we sit,
and we begin.
Mr. Youtsey has experienced homelessness
three times in his lifetime. “I feel the first time was
based on me deciding to give up all my property,
because I had given up on myself. The second time it
happened was because of my having no control. And
the third was my decision, but it was difficult to get a
grip on because even if I was employed and sober, I
was on the verge of becoming homeless.
“Now, keep in mind, I know Chinatown. I have
lived in Chinatown. I presently still go to Chinatown
and have seen new and old faces come and go.
Through the years, I did not oppose House of Peace,
but I felt there was more opportunities out there for
me and I opted to look for them. I recall House of
Peace staff contacting me, still trying to get me to
come in, but, another opportunity came along and I
took it. Yet, not everything that shines is gold. That
place was not for me or my sobriety.
“I then decided I would experience homelessness
one more time, this time because I decided to.
This time [the choices were] either keeping my
sobriety or a roof over my head. You see, sobriety
is important to me. It has been a long hard-fought
battle, which I have lost many times. Yet, when I
finally did achieve it, my life changed, and I would
in no way go back to that lifestyle. It has been
nine years sober so far. Times like these make me
remember being outside in Chinatown, yelling, not
taking care of my hygiene, pursuing my addiction,
and with the general consensus that I would never
achieve anything. Not again
The last time I was homeless, I would have
lost everything and still not cared. But as long as I
kept my sobriety, then I would not lose my biggest
investment, which was me. Because that is one of
the biggest issues with our homeless population.
We believe that it cannot get worse but it CAN
get worse. Without the sobriety, you don’t have
the growth spirituality and the sense of pride and
accomplishment that makes you want to continue to
I was very grateful to come home every night
to a safe place. I was safe in House of Peace, safe
from myself because I am my biggest first and
last problem. When I accepted to go into House
of Peace, I decided that I was going to commit to
one year and do what I needed to do in order to get
housed.” Instead, it took six months. “It feels good
to get home. Now, the goal is to keep it. I am aware
that I need to take care of what takes care of me.
I plan financially monthly. I even have a cat as a
“My dad used to tell me Slow and Easy wins the race but it did not make sense to me. It does now."
The word is… Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner, and it’s a special day for Dorothy’s Place because we’ll be recounting, with gratitude, all the wonderful service and successes we’ve been a part of in the last year, and we’ll be celebrating our consumers with a very special meal! Appetizers, turkey with the trimmings (all made from scratch) and choice of desserts, all served “to go” again this year. All of this takes months of preparation (Kitchen team toasted the bread for croutons this month, and froze them) and lots of Donor-Power! We need ingredients, serving and storage containers, and volunteers. Call Julieta at (831)276-5123 or email email@example.com.
Technology is such a blessing… and so is convenience! This year, you can support us by ordering our Thanksgiving supplies online at Amazon Smile, Costco, or Smart &Final! Amazon Smile delivers for no extra cost, and Costco and Smart & Final use deliver services. Amazon Smile Charity Lists (https:// amzn.to/3w8sxIf) is so easy – most of our needed items (except for fresh foods) are in an easy point & click menu – and Amazon already knows where to deliver them! Amazon Smile also donates .5% of your purchase to Dorothy’s Place! Costco has delivery of fresh and shelf-stable items and a convenient search engine. Smart & Final has a similar arrangement. Visit our website for a chart of supplies links that will take you directly to
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Jill Allen, Executive Director
We’re going to introduce some concepts that pertain to both the history of homelessness
(and more specifically chronic homelessness) in the United States, and the future of homelessness. These concepts may be completely familiar to some, and foreign to others. These concepts may be completely familiar to some, and foreign to others. They have blossomed out of decades of work with the unsheltered, but also out of love and moral concern for our unsheltered neighbors as well. None of this is insignificant.
• The label “homeless” is used to mark or distinguish a person that lives in a place that cannot be considered their permanent house. This place can be anything from a temporary stay on a friend’s sofa to a hiding place between a dark building and a dumpster. In the case of the sofa, we might assume that it is relatively safe. In the case of the dumpster, or any encampment outdoors, it is not. The two concepts to remember from the label “homeless” are:
• We’re talking about a person, real human beings, with needs, wants and desires just like you have. As people, they may be quite similar to you, or quite broken, but a person nonetheless.
• There are many subsets of “homeless”,
and many degrees of safety. Data tells us that
we can divide “homeless” into “situationally or
occasionally homeless”, and “chronically homeless”, the later meaning that the person has been living unsafely (dangerously) for long, sustained periods of time. There is a federal definition of “chronically homeless”, which will be largely ignored here due to lack of relevance, and we will bypass that argument by referring to this subset as “chronically unsheltered” instead.
• The label “consumer” is the most appropriate
descriptor for this discussion. For us “consumer”
means the person with the needs, wants and desires that we seek to fill. If you take away the label “homeless”, and all of its intrinsic baggage, assumed meanings and prejudices, and think of the “consumer”, we free ourselves of distraction and are able to concentrate on root causes
of distress and long-term 0solutions to unsafe environments.
• The consumer must drive the vehicle of long-term solutions. Our actions must be consumer-centric if they are to succeed. We see that short emergency shelter stays can get a newly homeless family into safety and back on their feet– success. We also see shocking percentages of individuals and families that bounce back and forth between emergency shelters and unsheltered life, in a perpetual loop of dependency on public services with no desire to move forward into permanent
safety. We see people that have lived in transitional shelters programmed to get the consumer into permanent housing at the end of their 180-day stay, but 65% of them end their stay with a discharge back into homelessness.
• Services are not enough. We have tricked
ourselves into thinking that we can solve the problem of homelessness if we just have more resources to provide more services for more homeless people. What we see as a results is some success at getting consumers with higher personal capacity into permanent housing, and very marginal success in getting lower functioning people into permanent housing, and when that actually happens, they often fall out of housing in less than a year. One might ask: are we putting more resources into services to keep the services healthy or the consumers healthy?
• Housing is not enough. Ten years ago, the
federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) decided to change their expectations from the traditional “Continuum of Care” model, which consisted of a consumer progression from emergency shelter, to transitional shelter, to permanent housing. Able to see evidence that this wasn’t performing to expectation and that they were pouring money into services that kept failing, they decided to support a new social model called “Housing
First”. This changed everything for service providers because most were dependent on HUD funding, which was gradually being reduced in favor of Housing First. Housing First dictated that no matter what condition the consumer was in, no matter what their capacity, the first priority was now to place that consumer into housing, and then surround them with services. Makes sense, right? What homeless consumer wouldn’t want to get immediately into permanent housing, then relax in that safety and take advantage of all the services provided? Again, we are making assumptions about what the consumers want, instead of allowing the consumer to drive their plan. And again, what resulted was some success in high-capacity families and individuals. And dismal outcomes for consumers of diminished capacity, who promptly locked the door and didn’t answer the phone when their service providers called. Unable to pay rents or function within landlord expectations, they employed their skills from encampment living, and failed.
• Instead of services playing the primary
role, they should be in the support role. The
industry of homeless services provision is riddled
with a scarcity mentality that doesn’t support long- term success. We come up with great ideas on how we can serve, but then we limit the spectrum of consumers we can serve by advancing the service that we can get funded at the time, and letting go of services that we can’t fund, but we have lots of experience in providing. The results of following the dollar are an inability to execute a long-range plan, and because of that, inability to collaborate with other services to create synergy around growth and development, because we are all operating in our funding silos. This editorial continues in our next newsletter, which you should see right before Thanksgiving. If what I’m writing causes you to question the system, or to question me, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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your favorite shop! The address for delivery is 30
Soledad St, Salinas 93901, (831) 276-5123 or email email@example.com.
We are new property owners… and it’s exciting
and just a bit intimidating. Sprint Communications
(now T-Mobile) donated a parcel at the northwest
corner of Soledad St and E Lake St, formerly a
fiber optic communications monitoring station.
Now decommissioned, we plan to develop the land eventually, but for now, we’re looking for volunteers to turn a quarter acre of uninspired urban dullness into a gorgeous Asian garden! Maybe we’ll even get some rain, otherwise we’ll
need clever folk to repair the existing sprinkler
system. It will be exciting to create an urban oasis
for Chinatown, a place for our consumers to rest and enjoy natural beauty. Ready to volunteer? Call (831) 276-5123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Streets To Homes needs a van for client transportation… if there’s anyone reading this that can donate a new or used vehicle in excellent operating order, our Encampment Outreach team would be eternally grateful. The van will allow transport to medical, mental health, social security and social services appointments, not just in Salinas, but other locations as well. Our budget doesn’t allow a purchase, but we’ll be able to maintain it. Please call (831) 809-3464, or email email@example.com. The word is… red curbs on Soledad St! Immediately after the last clean-up/sweep of Chinatown in September (which hadn’t taken place since pre-pandemic days), Salinas Public Works painted red curbs on both side of the street for the length of our entire block! At first, we were surprised, more by not being informed of the change in advance than of the actual change. But when we learned of the reason, we were shocked! The red curbs were ordered by Salinas Police Department as part of a strategy to “curb” local criminal activity. Eliminating organized crime-controlled drug sales, drug violence, and sex worker exploitation has been the demand of the property and business owners and residents of Chinatown for more than a decade, and ours at Dorothy’s Place as well, and now that demand is being taken seriously. And for those who are thinking of the upheaval of the lives of people that camp on our street (and many streets in Salinas), there is some accommodation. Those seeking our services at Dorothy’s Place may park on the curb for a short duration while leaving their hazard lights on. The same applies for donors dropping off needed supplies.
David Ligare & Gary Smith
John & Kimberly Beardshear
Kathy & Sheri Dawes
Lim Family Enterprises
Marina Motorsports, Inc.
Michael & Ann Briley
Robert J. Brandewie
Salinas Valley Communtiy Church
Santa Fe Mercados Inc
Sturdy Oil Company
Thomas A. Kieffer
Thomas R. Prelle
Yellow Bus, LLC
Carlos C. Lopez
Martin A. Vonnegut
Order of Malta, Western Association
Ron & Linda Borgman
Sunset Cruise for Dorothy’s Place –
F. Robert Nunes Family Fund of
Community Foundation for
Community Foundation for
Monterey County Dept of Social Services
Monterey County Whole Person Care
Salinas Housing & Community
Just in time for your holiday shopping! When you start at www.amazon.smile and choose Franciscan Workers as your charity, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to Dorothy’s Place Hospitality Center!
We are grateful for the many ways in which you support us!
How do I shop with AmazonSmile?
To use AmazonSmile, go to www.amazon.smile on your web browser or activate AmazonSmile in the Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone within the Settings or Programs & Features menu.
On your web browser, you can add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping with AmazonSmile.
How do I activate AmazonSmile in the Amazon Shopping app?
AmazonSmile is available for Amazon customers with the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on their mobile phone, including Android devices with version 7.0+ or iOS devices with version 12+. To activate AmazonSmile in the Amazon Shopping app, simply tap on “AmazonSmile” within the Programs &
Features menu or Settings and follow the on-screen instructions.
How do I select Dorothy’s Place as my charity of choice?
The first time you login to www.amazon.smile, you will be asked to select a charitable
organization. Use the Search tool to find “Franciscan Workers of Junipero Serra” and select it. Now, each time you login to Amazon Smile, you’ll be donating .5% of the purchase price of your items to Dorothy’s Place!
“I never had it so good,” says Eric, when asked how he
is doing. Eric is new in the House of Peace Transitional
Living program. But he’s not new to Salinas’ Chinatown.
“I was born and raised in Salinas. I worked in agriculture, transporting produce, driving a big rig, until my addiction to heroin stopped me.
“My brother has been clean over 25 years. He inspired me to change my life. I spent six months in a recovery program over 11 years ago. I left the area and have been clean ever since.
“Salinas has many bad memories for me, and I was hesitant to come back. But
then, because of COVID, I was laid off, lost my place, and I had to put my pride aside. I was accepted into House of Peace, in Chinatown, in Salinas.
“I have known too many people who wind up living under a bridge, or worse, six
feet under. I know I can do this program, set goals, and move on.
“Actually, the program is a safe environment. It feels secure even though it is in an old building in need of renovation. Dorothy’s Place is formally an old hotel: The Green Gold Inn.
“For those who want to use the program, in a good way, the staff is here to help.
“I am willing. I have hope. God doesn’t care where I am as long as I’m clean.
“Here’s an important memory of mine about Dorothy’s Place: Many years ago, while going to the woods to cut a Christmas tree with my family, I had an accident
and broke my foot. I knew about Dorothy’s Place and asked the former director, Robert Smith, for help. Somehow, he made sure that my family had a tree for the holidays. Those are the kind things Dorothy’s Place has always done.
“I would like to thank the House of Peace for all the wonderful help along with their support toward me and my journey.”