ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - After years of planning and construction, Catholic Charities is opening their completed Dorothy Day campus in St. Paul.
The $100 million campus is hoped to be a model to not just tackle homelessness, but perhaps prevent it.
The first Dorothy Day campus opened in 2017 and has an overnight shelter and dorm-style housing. The new building, however, is far more ambitious to try and end homelessness.
“I’m currently upstairs,” said Antonio Kelly, who was homeless for the past three years. “I’m loving it. It’s a nice, spacious room.”
The facility has 177 brand new efficiency apartments in what is phase two of Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day campus plan.
“Food, grooming, laundry, they never turn their back on you,” Kelly said. “They have great people who work here.”
The apartments are the top four floors. The bottom two floors are called the St. Paul Opportunity Center. It’s set to open next week.
“This is intended to be a hub of hope and opportunity,” said Tim Marx.
The building features a cafeteria is three times larger than the old one. It seats more than 300 people and will serve three meals a day, every day that are all cooked in the new kitchen.
This newly-finished St. Paul acility will serve as a model for other cities to use in search of a solution for homelessness. (FOX 9)
“So, we’re just really proud of this cafeteria and what we’re going to be able to do for people in need,” Marx said.
This building is phase two of a $100 million project that they hope will be a model.
It features a full health clinic, complete with two dental chairs, optometrists, podiatrists and mental health support.
“So, part of what we want to accomplish here is taking care of people from head to toe and from mind, body and soul,” Marx said.
Upstairs, residents can find meeting rooms for job training and placement, a computer lab, a dedicated veterans center and a salon where volunteers give haircuts ahead of job interviews.
Organizers are hoping the model will close the shelter by bringing people to the facility, connecting them with services and moving them on.
Residents began moving into the facility a few weeks ago. The service center opens next week. Already, officials from several other cities have toured this to see what’s being done in St. Paul.