Saporta Report’s David Pendered recently interviewed Open Doors Executive Director Matt Hurd and Open Doors Development Director Kim Wolfe regarding housing affordability and homelessness in Atlanta, and how Open Doors provides housing options for individuals who need just a bit of help to move into a residence they can afford.
“We are providing support for the last piece of the housing puzzle,” Hurd said. “Where a household that needs housing has been identified, gets financial support, is working with an agency. How do they find housing as soon as possible? That’s the mission of Open Doors – to make that last leg happen as quickly and successfully as we can. It’s absolutely the essential component that is the hardest of the housing continuum product.”
Open Doors is a match service that connects apartment managers and social service providers who are seeking affordable housing for clients. Landlords benefit from guarantees that rent will be paid as Open Doors has funds set aside to cover any shortfalls landlords experience if tenants cannot make payments. Social service providers benefit from a comprehensive list of landlords who will rent to tenants who have blemishes on their credit reports, provided they are in this program.
“Our No. 1 need is units,” Hurd said. “Our message is that if you partner with us, we will fill your vacancies and protect your revenue, your investment. It benefits everybody – it keeps people off the streets, it lowers transmission rates [of the coronavirus] and helps keep people safe.”
Open Doors is actively seeking landlords to join the program before a wave of evictions hits the market. The timing of that wave is uncertain, but could begin as early as Aug. 1, depending on unknowns ranging from a potential federal benefits package to the resumption of local eviction proceedings. In addition to gaining access to more apartments, funding is another key objective for Open Doors.
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