Letter from Matt: Open Doors Supporters
The past 18 months have been an intense period of uncertainty for our community. When we started 2020 to continue our work of reducing barriers to permanent housing, a pandemic was never a barrier we imagined. While the individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits we serve have not been immune to the challenges of COVID-19, I’m pleased to report that there has been a surge of support and new opportunities to create permanent housing for hundreds of people living in Metro Atlanta.
Most notably, we’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with Partners for Home, the City of Atlanta, and a many of our service partners on a large-scale housing effort called LIFT. This campaign goal has been to house hundreds of chronically homeless individuals and families over the past 8 months. To date, we’ve welcomed home more than 450 individuals, families, and veterans to permanent housing.
Along with this initiative, Open Doors continued our core work of property navigation in 2020 by identifying and securing permanent housing for over 1,000 people. This is an amazing accomplishment – especially when our team and our partners had to work remotely for most of the last year. These safety measures, while challenging, has kept our team safe and healthy as none have contracted COVID-19. In 2021, we’ve already helped over 750 people find rental housing through our effective and time-saving process.
As we look at what’s next, it’s clear that the need for Open Doors to take the lead in housing location is more important than ever.
I hope you enjoy reading about the rest of our work, partners, and some of the lives we’ve touched so far this year. We have a lot of things to be proud about, and we could not have accomplished any of it without YOU – our supporters, stakeholders, and allies. Thank you for this partnership in helping us make our Metro Atlanta community an amazing place for all people to live, work, and thrive.
Property Partner Highlight: Kinstone River
Kinstone Communities is an Atlanta based family-owned apartment community and the owner of Kinstone River apartment community. Kinstone’s believes in a resident-first approach in building a community and that Kinstone River should be a place that residents are proud to call home. As a new participant in the Open Doors portfolio, Kinstone wanted a placement that needed of a hand up during a difficult time.
In late 2020 Open Doors became aware of Ms. Kimi Lucas and her need for a fresh start. Ms. Lucas is a recent cancer survivor and single mom to two daughters. She had a stable job as a project manager. Everything changed with the COVID shutdown. Ms. Lucas lost her job and fell behind in rent and feared a pending eviction. Trying to find more affordable housing became difficult due to a past bankruptcy and her lack of income.
Open Doors knew that the ideal community for Ms. Lucas to get back on her feet and to support her daughters would be Kinstone River. Property Manager, Justin Bickering was contacted by Open Doors to help. “Open Doors reached out and told us about Ms. Lucas, and we immediately wanted to help. It’s a tough time for a lot of people and our company is trying to help where we can. Ms. Lucas is an ideal fit.”
Spotlight On: The Warrior Alliance
with Patrick Brown, Warrior Navigator
What’s it about: The Warrior Alliance is a local non-profit working to help veterans and their families achieve a fulfilling civilian life. This mission is accomplished through collaborations with organizations that can support veterans and families during the transition from military service to civilian life.
Patrick Brown as a Warrior Navigator helps veterans make this transition in life as positively as possible.
Does The Warrior Alliance provide housing services?
Patrick Brown: Housing is one of more than a dozen veteran provider services that The Warrior Alliance can assist veterans with on an ongoing basis. The pandemic has elevated the demand for housing due to the impact of unemployment, so we have seen a spike in this need.
What is the challenge to finding housing for your clients? Has working with Open Doors been helpful with these challenges?
Patrick Brown: The biggest challenge we face regarding housing is the effort to understand and remedy the immediate circumstances that veterans who reach out are dealing with. Almost every case requires finding housing for veterans that are in the 24–48-hour window of being evicted. While we work expeditiously to resolve the homelessness issue, our team is also working with the veteran to address the root cause and a longer-term solution.
Finding a property that aligns to the veteran’s situation, can then meet their needs, and that is able to work through previous legal issues is difficult and requires going the extra mile. From the time I send in a referral to Open Doors it is usually within the hour that a property navigator responds to assist with the veteran case. I work with Open Doors every week and believe through the efforts of collaboration a lot more can be accomplished. Working with Open Doors has been a great learning experience for me, and the overall program is something I recommend for Greater Atlanta veterans.
To learn more about the Warrior Alliance visit https://www.thewarrioralliance.org/about/