Dorothy Day Center demolition underway for new campus

| September 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

A crew begins demolition of the Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul Sept. 13. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Construction workers began demolishing the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul Sept. 13 to pave the way for the new Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Residence.

The new $100 million facility will complete the second phase of Catholic Charities’ new center for serving the homeless in St. Paul. Higher Ground, across North Main Street from the Dorothy Day Center, opened in January 2017.

“The beautiful facilities that will allow us to give love and people to receive love is a key aspect of what we are doing,” said Tim Marx, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.

Higher Ground provides shelter, long-term housing and resources for the homeless to get out of poverty. The Opportunity Center will offer services such as health care, and the Dorothy Day Residence will have 177 permanent housing units above the Opportunity Center.

The Dorothy Day Center opened in 1981 and served meals but didn’t offer shelter at first. As the need grew, the center began sheltering the homeless overnight on the floor. Over 6,000 stayed people annually.

“The facility became over worn,” Marx said.

By 2011, Catholic Charities couldn’t fit all the homeless requesting a night’s stay. Community leaders in St. Paul, including Mayor Chris Coleman, researched the issue and recommended a new facility in 2013.

“The community responded to that crisis with a $100 million new vision in public-private partnership,” Marx said.

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