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“Open Doors Executive Director Talks Expanding Resources To Cobb County And ‘Hidden Homeless’” Closer Look With Rose Scott

By January 31, 2024March 4th, 2024Current News Features

New-Matt-HurdOpen Doors Executive Director Matt Hurd recently sat down with Rose Scott of WABE’s Closer Look to discuss Open Doors’ ongoing effort to end homelessness in Atlanta, Open Doors’ $7.2 million campaign to expand the Open More Doors initiative, and Open Doors’ recent expansion of housing resources and services into surrounding metro Atlanta counties.

Inflation and increases in the cost of living have created challenging economic environments, which have lead to an expansion of the hidden homeless — people who are living doubled-up with family and friends or who are housing insecure, meaning they are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one unexpected expense from possible eviction.

“Every person, every household is different, and so the solution needs to be different,” shared Hurd. “It needs to meet them where they are at and it needs to be individualized for what they need at that time in their life.”

Up to this point, Open Doors has been primarily focused on those that HUD defines as homeless – individuals and families who are living in shelters, living in their car or living on the street – and has helped approximately 11,000 people find affordable housing through relationships with over 150 other nonprofits and 670 multifamily communities throughout the Metro Atlanta area. Open Doors is building on its incredible success dealing with people experiencing homelessness and is expanding to help the “hidden homeless,” which is an exponentially larger challenge.

By working together with the City of Atlanta, the commercial real estate industry, the Atlanta Apartment Association, nonprofit partners and foundations, Open Doors has had great success. Everyone needs a seat at the table. Through these relationships, Open Doors helps to remove barriers in order to assist individuals and families to secure an affordable home.

The face of homelessness and housing insecurity is changing, and people who thought they would never be in that group are finding themselves in that group with 30-40% of households across the nation being in jeopardy of becoming housing insecure. A collaborative effort to make a system-wide change is needed to avoid a crisis locally.

Open Doors has plans to expand both its Housing Support Navigation program, which is focused on housing insecurity, as well as its Property Navigation to include 1,000 multifamily communities in the Metro Atlanta area within the next three years.

“The larger our footprint, the more relationships we have, the more choice we can give people — not only to say here is a unit, but here are three units or four units that you can choose from depending on where you want to live and how you want to live,” concluded Hurd.

To hear the full interview, visit the WABE website here.