December 18, 2013 ddccampaign
Task Force recommends a “Dorothy Day Center ReVision” to address increasing homelessness in Saint PaulTask Force recommendations call for three new buildings and a new approach Civic, business and government leaders today released recommendations for a “Dorothy Day Center ReVision” to prevent and end homelessness in Saint Paul. After seven months of research and planning, the Dorothy Day Center Task Force, convened by Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, is calling for three innovative, specially designed buildings that will provide dignified shelter, permanent housing and pathways out of poverty. The critical next step for the ReVision project will be to secure state bonding funds this legislative session. The task force found that remodeling the physical structure of Catholic Charities’ existing Dorothy Day Center would not be enough to address longer-term issues at the deteriorating, overburdened center in downtown Saint Paul or be able to meet the growing and complex needs of Minnesota’s homeless population. The shelter opened more than three decades ago and was created to be a temporary drop-in facility, but the number and needs of the homeless have stretched it beyond capacity, and on too many nights people are turned away. “We are proud of the legacy of the Dorothy Day Center in Saint Paul, established by business and community leaders to make a visible statement of our values. But there are now more than 250 men and women sleeping on mats in a building designed to accommodate 50 people during the day.” said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who convened the task force in May 2013. “The center is so crowded that we worry about the health and safety of too many people sharing too small a space. It is time we, as a state, rethink this facility and deliver on our promise to care for those most in need.” “As the task force considered the best ways to serve the homeless in Saint Paul, we prioritized a long-term solution that brought greater dignity to every person served,” said The Saint Paul Foundation President and CEO Carleen Rhodes, who co-chaired the task force. The three components of the Dorothy Day Center ReVision project include:
- A larger and more dignified shelter and housing development, which would also offer greater stability and privacy to people through innovative “pay-for-stay” housing (based on the success of Higher Ground in Minneapolis);
- A Connection Center, which would connect people with services, resources and opportunities to escape poverty and homelessness; and
- Permanent affordable housing for the most vulnerable formerly homeless residents in the heart of downtown Saint Paul.