About the Project

Aerial view of the campus

In 1981, Dorothy Day Center opened to provide daytime services and respite to the vulnerable. It was not designed or intended to be an overnight shelter. Nevertheless, due to increasing need, we began to provide services 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. In 2011, for the first time, Dorothy Day Center exceeded capacity and people were turned away. Crisis inspired action.

The community united around a new vision, Dorothy Day Place, to provide dignified shelter, permanent homes and pathways out of poverty. This new vision inspired an historic $100 million public-private partnership, the largest in housing and social services in state history. All of us, together, have made the vision of Dorothy Day Place a reality.

Dorothy Day Place is a two-building, innovative model designed to provide permanent solutions to homelessness in our community:

Phase I – Higher Ground Saint Paul opened in January 2017, offering 193 supportive housing units and 354 emergency shelter beds and bunks to people experiencing homelessness. The building also offers medical respite beds for men and women who are experiencing homelessness and are recovering from hospitalization, specialized housing, assistance for women suffering from late-stage alcoholism and Pay-for-Stay beds for men, which is held in savings for clients and can be used for a first month’s rent or down payment on permanent housing.

Phase II – The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Saint Paul Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Place opened its doors in October 2019. The second phase consists of a six-floor, 50,000-square-foot building built on the site of the original Dorothy Day Center. The building includes the Saint Paul Opportunity Center, an integrated, one-stop location connecting people to critical services to improve their health, income, housing stability and well-being. Services are provided by a variety of community partner organizations, including Catholic Charities, Ramsey County, the Veterans Administration, health care providers and many more organizations and volunteers. The building provides critical services such as meal services, a laundry room, a hair salon, secure storage, veterans services, computer stations, job training programs, built-in dental care facilities and a half dozen exam rooms for medical care. The building also includes the Dorothy Day Residence, 177 units of much needed affordable housing units above the Opportunity Center.

The $40 million private Capital Campaign for Dorothy Day Place was publicly announced at the Dorothy Day Community Breakfast on May 8, 2015, and its successful completion was celebrated at the Dorothy Day Community Breakfast on May 5, 2017.