In 2012, a group of leading real estate professionals in Atlanta founded the Atlanta Real Estate Collaborative (AREC). AREC’s goal was to create innovative solutions to the problem of homelessness. In studying the issue, AREC board members zeroed in on a faulty housing dynamic: People who desperately needed housing and property owners who badly needed tenants often failed to get together.

After more analysis, it was clear that legal, financial, and perception barriers about the homeless made some property owners hesitate. Unfortunately, the owners’ reluctance left vulnerable families and veterans “out in the cold.”

To overcome barriers – one by one if necessary – AREC created a new action-oriented program called Open Doors. Its mission was “making connections to bring people home.” The new program found innovative ways to reduce obstacles and to bring both parties together. Whether owners needed help to negotiate fair housing requirements or wanted concrete assurance that renters could pay, Open Doors and their nonprofit service provider partners provided the answers. Along the way, Open Doors also improved lives and boosted bottom-lines — a combination that worked. Just four years later, Open Doors has facilitated housing for more than 4,000 residents.


Veteran w/ family members 52
Veteran individual 190
Non-vet w/ family members 206
Non-vet individual 164
Total Households Housed 612
Total # of Veterans 244
Total # in families w/ kids 660
Total Individuals (no kids) 345
Total People Housed 1005

Aaron Goldman, Founder
Aaron Goldman is one of the founders and board chair of AREC and a member of Open Doors executive committee. He has leveraged deep relationships within Atlanta’s multifamily real estate community to create unique public-private partnerships. 

Aaron has served as the Board Chairman for AREC since its inception. His dedication to the cause of homelessness and his ground-breaking approach earned him Hope Atlanta’s 2016 “Heroes for Hope Award.” Aaron has worked in real estate for almost two decades and earned a degree in real estate from the University of Wisconsin.

Sara Haas, Executive Sponsor
Sara Haas is a Senior Program Director with the Enterprise Community Partners Southeast market. She, and the ECP team, supports Open Doors as the Fiscal Sponsor of the program and provides resources and leadership for many areas of Open Doors program development.  Sara also leads Enterprise’s emerging work in Miami, and develops and implements affordable housing preservation and nonprofit capacity building initiatives for the Southeast. 

Prior to joining Enterprise, Sara developed and managed national AmeriCorps VISTA programs focused on affordable housing and community development at Habitat for Humanity International and Points of Light. Sara graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology School of City and Regional Planning with a Masters of City and Regional Planning, and received a Bachelors of Business Administration from the Emory University Goizueta Business School.

Matt Hurd, Director
Matt Hurd oversees the day-to-day operation of the Open doors program, including working with property owners and service providers to connect veterans, families, and individuals to permanent homes. As part of his mission, Matt works to recruit new properties to the Open Doors Program, ensuring that each property has an agreement that facilitates its unique business needs. When properties have questions or concerns, Matt finds the answers or creates program modifications that allow them to move forward.  He also works with partners from a range of non-profit agencies in the Metro to ensure new residents will be successful. 

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work and Non-Profit Management – both from Florida State University.  He has worked in the fields of behavioral health and supportive housing for 15 years.

John Jefferson, Property Coordinator
John Jefferson is the “match maker” who helps properties find residents that meet their unique criteria. He introduces property managers to non-profit providers and helps each community reach its desired capacity. John also informs property owners about the supportive services offered to Open Doors’ participants. He makes sure owners know how to access the financial support and case management that reinforce the owner experience ). John serves as a primary contact for answering property manager questions and resolving tenant issues, should they arise. 

John has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Delaware and 10 years of experience in property management.

Luis Martinez, Program Coordinator
As Program Coordinator, Luis manages the Open Doors housing locator tools, SalesForce system, nonprofit partner relationships, and social media.  He also serves as project manager for all household referrals, multi-unit campaigns and other areas of program management and development. 

Luis is an advocate for the community as well as a seasoned Business Manager, with more than eight years of experience in advertising, sales, marketing, team building, business development, and data management.


Atlanta Real Estate Collaborative (AREC), a group of private individuals with extensive real estate experience, has housed over 2,000 individuals in approximately 1,300 apartment units in just over two years. AREC connects property owners and managers to the Open Doors team, assisting with recruitment and education of affordable properties.

Click here for more information about AREC…

Enterprise Community Partners serves as the fiscal sponsor for Open Doors. Enterprise provides ongoing program support through research, process development, marketing and data analysis. Enterprise has invested $163 million in grants, loans and equity, which leverage almost $577 million in total development cost to create or preserve 8,500 affordable units in the Metro Atlanta Region.

Click here for more information about ECP…