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Our Progress

Grassroots Growth

Important changes in Shelter Program

BESS Growth




With the cooperation of the University of California, DDH served daily breakfasts to the general homeless community first at “Peoples’ Park” south of Campus and, later, at the adjacent University Lutheran Church. In 2001 we moved our breakfast serving to Trinity United Methodist Church where it remained for 12 years, until another move in the summer of 2013 to Christ Church of Berkeley.

Our Shelter Program started with the Berkeley Emergency Storm Shelter (BESS). Since December 2016 we have taken  our shelter operations to a new level.  We opened a nightly shelter on 4th Street, which was extended through June via private donations.

In December 2017, BESS started opening its doors at 1925 University Avenue around 6:00 PM every night to provide a safe, warm, and dry place for 90 people who would otherwise spend the night on the streets. This effort continued with great success and with support of the City of Berkeley and the greater community through August 31. It was the culmination of months of work from many community sources that had been advocating for this approach.

We measure our impact not in time, but in lives impacted. With each year, we seek to better serve our communities - the Dorothy Day Way - and be a voice to anyone that feels unheard and unrepresented. Our Guests define who we are, and it will always be this way.


A New Step Forward

The closing of the shelter on August 30, because of fire regulations, impacted our guests in many ways. To tie us over, we were able to reopened a couple of weeks later with a changing schedule between other city facilities. Ultimately, it was decided that MASC would be the most logical new location for BESS, and on October 1, 2018 we moved in. There are 57 bed available at this time. When we open BESS early December, additional people will find shelter from the elements.

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