Never Alone

The DOORWAYS Residential Program provides permanent housing to homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS through 103 apartments in seven buildings. The majority of the clients have lived a life of poverty, with limited or no income upon move-in. Many also experience life-limiting challenges — such as substance use — but DOORWAYS practices a Housing First model that focuses on immediate placement in safe shelter followed by supportive services and referrals to address issues that threaten housing stability and quality of life.

Supportive services are provided through an intensive case management system conducted by DOORWAYS client services housing coordinators, such as Clarice Lipsey. She has served in that role since 2016. She meets with clients individually to determine needs and establish goals for personal growth. Clarice assists clients in enrolling in healthcare programs and following a medical regimen to manage their HIV/AIDS. She also offers referrals for mental health and substance use counseling. But resources don’t always lead to action. For example, Clarice had been working for several months with a resident battling a serious substance addiction. She repeatedly encouraged counseling and treatment programs, but he resolutely refused all intervention.

As his addiction continued, his health decline spiraled out of control. While he was very ill and weak, he was not alone. Clarice vigilantly persisted in offering him referrals for substance use programs: “My role as the client services housing coordinator is to provide resources for clients as needed, plus encourage and advocate for them. In doing so, they know they deserve safe, stable housing to rise to a better, more stable life. As long as they live in DOORWAYS’ apartments, I won’t give up on them, and I am available when they choose to receive the help.”

Her dedication paid off. He had given up on himself, but he knew Clarice was still fighting for him. That faith gave him the strength to finally accept the referral. He agreed to treatment.

DOORWAYS has a grant from the Foundation for Barnes Jewish Hospital to assist with substance use counseling and treatment, and Clarice was able to secure a bed for the resident using those funds. According to the Chief Program Officer Pat Plumley, “This client would have died without treatment. I’m grateful to the Barnes Jewish Hospital Foundation for providing resources to help our residents help themselves.”

While this resident’s effort to change his life is just unfolding, knowing that Clarice and the other Residential Program staff are providing individual attention to each resident is absolute. Housing alone is not enough to break the cycle of poverty or addiction. Case management, resource connections, self-development programs, and special events are all key components of an integrated approach to assist our residents in stabilizing their housing, health, and hope. And, certainly dedicated employees and generous funders bring the mission to life.

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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Click here for more information on the Residential Program.

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