A New Beginning

Her only focus was to survive for her children. In 1999 when KC was diagnosed with HIV, she was a single mother of four who had just escaped an abusive relationship. She was young and afraid, but driven to create a good life for her four children. Her first goal was to find a place to live. When her case manager told her about DOORWAYS housing opportunities, KC quickly applied and was approved. “When I got the news, I was so elated, because I felt like this was a new beginning for me and my children,” she recalled. She quickly moved herself and her young children into the apartment.

KC learned that a DOORWAYS apartment not only provides a safe place for those with HIV who are homeless, or at-risk of homelessness, to stabilize their lives, but it also provides access to essential resources. All clients receive an intensive intake assessment to identify critical needs. Those needs are addressed through individual case management with extensive referrals to whatever resources are needed: healthcare, food security, counseling, employment assistance, transportation, schools/day-cares, etc. As KC explained, DOORWAYS also offers self-development workshops:   “DOORWAYS has provided a world of opportunities to me and my family such as providing HIV education, financial literacy classes, nutrition classes, support groups, and even tutors for the children.”

During the early years, she was battling depression and anxiety as her life was filled with such uncertainty. By working with the DOORWAYS staff and utilizing the many resources offered to her, KC was able to regain her stability and begin building a bright future for herself and her children. Her primary focus was to assure her children would receive a good education, so that they would have access to good paying jobs and a life of self-sufficiency. She set an outstanding example by completing an associate’s degree in arts from St. Louis Community College with a focus in human services.  Following her footsteps, her four children have committed themselves to their schooling as well. They graduated from high school, and set their sights on college. KC proudly noted that her daughters just graduated from St. Louis Community College. One is working as a dental assistant while the other is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management. Her oldest son graduates from the University of Missouri next year, while her younger son is currently attending St. Louis Community College—with the hope to open his own photography business.

KC and her family are one household living in the 103 apartment units throughout DOORWAYS’ seven permanent housing complexes. In addition to the seven residential complexes for clients who are able to live on their own, DOORWAYS also provides housing to homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS through a 36-bed care facility for the more seriously ill, an emergency housing program, and an intensive Jumpstart program for homeless single parents with children. Efforts to prevent homelessness are achieved through a subsidies program to assist with rents and utilities.

“Housing is healthcare,” explained Opal M. Jones, president and CEO of DOORWAYS. “HIV/AIDS is treatable. It is no longer a death sentence, unless you are homeless without access to health care, medications, and the stability of a place to call home where you can regain your strength and find your hope for a brighter future.” That’s just what DOORWAYS gave to KC and her family. Housing and a support network provided a firm foundation from which KC could launch her efforts to nurture her family and herself, building a thriving family through hard work, dedication, and hope. “DOORWAYS has been a blessing to me and my family,” explained KC. “My family has received so much help, love, and support from the staff. I know without DOORWAYS’ support and God’s grace, I could not have made it this far.”

Through support from generous donors, DOORWAYS now celebrates 30 years of service to people in the City of St. Louis and 117 counties in Missouri and Illinois. Last year we provided a new beginning to 3,100 individuals.  For more information, contact Karen Carpentier at 314-328-2704 or kcarpentier@doorwayshousing.org.

 

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