Dorothy Day House believes in meeting our guests’ immediate needs first, while providing them guidance along a pathway to restored independence.
Dorothy Day Shelter is unlike other shelters. We are fortunate enough to have cultivated a unique relationship with the unhoused in Berkeley – which has led to us being one of the best organizations to assist them.
Since the COVID pandemic, the shelter has adapted to ensure the safety of both our guests and staff by reducing the population of the shelter by 50%. Some individuals were placed in motels for temporary housing as a solution, while the remaining 17 guests were spaced out amongst our 55-bed shelter space. Guests have access to a computer room, and a recreational space that provides entertainment in the form of Netflix and a large assortment of books to read.
Currently, the Dorothy Day House Shelter is what is considered a “wet shelter” which means that if one of our guests comes in intoxicated, we do not turn them away but rather assist them safely to their beds. This makes a huge difference in our ability to reach the people that need our help the most, as it helps to prevent sudden and potentially lethal alcohol or drug withdrawals while introducing people to a system that can help.
“I have a problem with booze…I know I do! I have been kicked out of another shelter in Berkeley and lived on the street for a year and a half after. I can’t stop drinking but am trying to do better. The Dorothy Day Shelter people treat me like a human being and not just a drunk,” says Jake, a current shelter resident.
Currently, the shelter only serves men and women and is located in the basement of the Veteran’s Memorial Building, but our Director of Programs, Robbi Montoya, has a vision for the shelter’s future.
“We have learned early on that with genuine care and understanding and treating our shelter guests with dignity and respect that our hope for their housing stability has been translated to the guests as a real possibility for their future. My hope is to secure a larger space to expand shelter capacity in order help more of our unsheltered community get off the street and into a warm and caring environment where they can start to believe in themselves as much as we believe in them!”
If you would like to support our work with the homeless in Berkeley, please visit this link.