Every day, Regions Hospital cares for nearly 10 patients who are homeless. When they leave the hospital, they must recover in a shelter or on the streets. Catholic Charities, Regions Hospital and two other hospitals are changing that. Now more patients have a warm bed to rest in and a path out of homelessness.

In January one of the patients was a young man we’ll call Mike.* He fell asleep outside and got severe frostbite. When he was better, he didn’t have to go to a shelter or have to stay longer in the hospital. Instead, he was the first patient at a new medical unit in St. Paul.

It’s located in Higher Ground in Saint Paul. The facility is run by Catholic Charities. It is part of Dorothy Day Place, which replaces the Dorothy Day Center.

There are only about 80 programs like this in the nation. Three hospitals are funding it. Those are Regions, St. Joseph’s and United. Medica Foundation and Blue Plus also contributed. HealthPartners President and CEO Mary Brainerd is a co-chair of the campaign raising funds for Dorothy Day Place.

Patients in the medical respite unit receive nursing care coordination, health education and support for mental health. Mike had to have several toes amputated. He has battled alcohol addiction since he was a teenager. But he’s sober now. And he’s getting used to living with less mobility. He plans to get job training and hopes to find work he can do with his new limitations.

Higher Ground Saint Paul offers 473 people experiencing homelessness a place to sleep. It provides more than emergency help. Instead, it will be a path out of homelessness.