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St. Mary’s Center is a place in the heart of Oakland, California where anything seems possible. Working with extremely low income seniors, children and families, St. Mary’s focuses on basic needs so that people have food, housing, education, health resources and the support of a community. Clients' humanity figures prominently in our programs. The people we serve have the opportunity to stabilize their lives and improve their well-being. Many of our clients become mentors to others and advocates for justice. Our offices are clean and accessible. Our outdoor space incorporates a vegetable garden to supplement our food program, a courtyard with benches and shade that provide safe respite to seniors and a gathering space for community celebrations. Dedicated staff and an abundance of volunteers give the sense of a village. At St. Mary's Center, the spirit of community encourages healing, engagement and the conviction that change is possible.
St. Mary's Center is a nonprofit organization in Oakland, California dedicated to the humanity of all people. Founded in 1973, St. Mary's Center provides critical services to extremely low-income seniors and children, increasing their quality of life and working to improve community engagement and public policy.
As a one-stop shop for necessary senior services, the our center helps people deal with immediate crisis (hunger, homelessness, isolation, health issues, no income, etc.), providing wrap-around services and a comprehensive program. Active listening, a knowledgeable staff and a community of peers combine to make our care plans workable.
Trailblazing new approaches and honing proven strategies, St. Mary's Center is:
- one of the first community programs in California to provide concurrent treatment for those with co-occurring conditions (mental illness and substance abuse). Now the approach is often the standard.
- the only winter shelter for people 55 and older in Northern California.
- the only integrated treatment program for seniors in Alameda County.
- a program where those who have experienced the crisis of homelessness can become mentors to others and leaders advocating on behalf of the needs of extremely low-income people.
St. Mary's Center is both a safety net and a vision of how our world could be. Here, the poorest get basic needs: a place to live, health care, plentiful and nutritious food, and an opportunities for education.
- Alicia Alexander
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