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.
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:
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 Revitalization Project, part of Visión Salinas. 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 36 years, we are even more excited to promote trauma-informed care for those experiencing chronic homelessness in Monterey County and that we’ve assisted more than 100 chronically homeless people into housing in the last two years. 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.
Jimmy and Diane each become homeless at the age of 13, and have spent the last 42 years together as a couple. For 40 of those years, they were homeless, and addicted to heroin, except for periods of time when they were in a program or incarcerated. With their health declining, and seeing no way out of street living and street “economy”, they listened to a staff member that offered encouragement and summoned every bit of strength and courage they had to come see a social worker at Dorothy’s Place. The six months that followed were tumultuous. They had to work hard to stay on their methadone program, walking nearly two miles each way to their clinic. Still, the heroin withdrawal was too painful, and they left their placement in House of Peace, thinking that they had failed. But staff encouragement persisted, and they re-entered the House of Peace program a month later, graduating the program 10 months later, into their very first apartment. They’ve both been “clean”, sober, and successful in maintaining their apartment, despite all the medical issues that they’ve had to deal with. Two years after signing their first lease, Jimmy and Diane are happy and housed, safe and healing.
You can be a part of this revolution for people that suffer through chronic homelessness.