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Saturday
May132017

The Dignity Center - Working with People to Achieve and Maintain Stability

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photos by Mary Martin of Dignity Center

In my work, many people have mentioned the Dignity Center and the incredible work done there.  Today, I found out what all of the ‘fuss’ is about.

Located on the grounds of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, the Center is housed in a beautiful old mansion on Groveland Avenue. Built in the 1930s and eventually donated to the church, the Center is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00am – 11:30am. The front door remains locked to assure that everyone who arrives is greeted by name and welcomed.

Mary Martin, the Director of Outreach, greeted me at the door and introduced herself. She is a dynamic and enthusiastic advocate for the work done here. The mission is to assist people to reach the goals they have in their lives by providing structure, support, and resources. It is free and open to all, but the requirement is for the people who come here to do the work. It is a unique relationship-focused program, and when people reach their goals they are welcome to volunteer at the Center.

Mary Martin, center 

When people enter the Center, they meet with an advocate to assess the nature of the problem and assist in setting steps needed to resolve that problem. The responsibilities of each client includes:

  • Making and keeping appointments
  • Taking part in programs to help succeed
  • Following action plan and documenting progress
  • Staying clean and sober

The Dignity Center works with people to achieve and maintain stability. They work together on skills such as problem solving, decision making, organization and budgeting. Progress is measured as improved housing, improved financial situation, completed education and training, obtained employment, and supportive community.

In pursuit of its mission to support each person’s stabilization, the Dignity Center is a host site for the Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) brief legal services clinic. The on-site legal clinic allows clients to address their legal issues side-by-side with other issues creating instability in their lives. The VLN clinic is generally open on the same schedule as the Dignity Center.

At the VLN clinic, clients meet face-to-face with an attorney for approximately 30 minutes free of charge. The attorney will answer questions and/or refer people to other places for help. Clients will not receive any ongoing representation or ongoing services by the attorney. Any action taken after this meeting with the attorney is the client’s responsibility.

Attorneys can provide brief services, such as: writing a letter, making a phone call, obtaining specific information from a third party, drafting pleadings or a portion of pleadings, assisting in service of process, and providing written information regarding your legal issue and the next steps to take. Once again, any action taken after the meeting is the client’s responsibility unless a specific agreement has been crafted with the attorney in writing.

If you are interested in supporting the vital mission of this group, there are a number of ways to get involved:

1)    Learn more at http://hennepinchurch.org/dignitycenter/

2)    Volunteer at http://hennepinchurch.org/dignityvolunteer/

3)    Participate in the Share the Journey Dignity Center Luncheon on Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm (arrive by 11:45am). Join other lunch guests and enjoy entertainment and inspiring stories by Dignity Center participants. You will have an opportunity to learn about the Dignity Center's mission and contribute to the important work of stabilizing the lives of those in need. Free parking available in Hennepin Church’s parking lot. The Keynote Speaker is Susan Haigh, President and CEO - Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

4)    Join your neighbors in donating to the 2017 DCEH Sofas and Spokes Drive. The Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness will be accepting gently used bicycles and gently used furniture at the Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Avenue S, on Saturday, May 20.

Claudia can be reached at claudia@millcitymedia.org


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