Dorothy Day Wayfinding Project

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Desired Services
Interior Design & Brand Integration

Project Description

The mission of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis is to serve those most in need. We are a leader at solving poverty, creating opportunity, and advocating for justice in the community
Catholic Charities has more than 140 years service experience and today, we help 37,000 people annually through a variety of programs located throughout the metro area including programs providing services to end homelessness.

The Dorothy Day Center located at the gateway of downtown St. Paul is a hub for adults experiencing homelessness. Dorothy Day serves anywhere from 250-500 people daily as a drop in opportunity center providing shelter and a full array of services, including meals, showers, lockers, health clinic, computer lab, employment services, connections to community resources and housing support. Dorothy Day Center has a large open floor plan with one main entrance and front desk area opening to a large square room. There are offices, showers, and restrooms lining the walls around the perimeter and a separate computer lab, kitchen and eating area. For more than 30 years, single adults experiencing homelessness have come to Dorothy Day for shelter, food and supportive services. There is a wide variety and a large number of services provided at Dorothy Day. Services are provided by Dorothy Day staff and by several community partner organizations that are co-located at Dorothy Day (such as a health care clinic provided by Health Care for the Homeless or Veteran Services provided by the Veterans Administration).

We are seeking design services to create a wayfinding system to guide customers through a drop in day center environment that is complex, confusing and chaotic. Presently there are significant barriers to effective wayfinding including clutter, crowds, noise and a vast array of uncoordinated visual information including an abundance of posters and signs posted on walls; considerable temporary information; brochures; flyers; dated and unnecessary signs, bulletin boards, etc. In addition, many of our customers are in crisis and/or they have significant challenges navigating systems, including literacy barriers and physical and mental disabilities.

Conduct assessment and design wayfinding solution that provides clear pathways to specific destinations/services at Dorothy Day so individuals can make connections that will help them to make choices that help them improve their lives. An effective wayfinding plan will also express our culture and help create a sense of security, comfort and well being to customers who are vulnerable and in crisis. An effective wayfinding system will include signage, pathways, landmarks and other visual cues to help vulnerable individuals both understand and navigate the services provided at Dorothy Day without confusion. A significant piece of the project is development of an overall signage system to create hierarchies that make a Dorothy Day easy to "read"or navigate. We seek to present Dorothy Day with a singular graphic style, or voice to build consistency at Dorothy Day and in turn for customers who seek consistency. Finally, the project will develop more dynamic ways of displaying the services and resources available to clients through new communication systems instead of tri-fold brochures.

We would like to have assessment completed and wayfinding solutions designed before end of our fiscal year June 30, 2013.