Our mission is to effectively address the causes and complexities of the homeless and working poor by providing shelter, food, clothing, case management services, treatment services, transitional planning for short and long term goals, subsidized housing, education, employment, and a path towards independence and success.
We provide shelter nightly with over 95 beds in our facility located at 4 Merritt St. From this same facility we operate the Manna House kitchen and pantry. We serve meals three times a day (over 20,000 per month) and provide boxed and canned goods to the working poor to help them make ends meet. Between the kitchen and the pantry, we provide approximately 60,000 meals per month to individuals and families in our community.
We also operate a number of private residences, providing supportive housing to those who are working and earning an income, but unable to afford housing in the area.
In 2010, we launched Hope Works, a job training program intended to get at the root cause of homelessness: unemployment. This program combines job training, computer training, life skills coaching as well as job placement services to help residents get back to a life of independence and self-reliance.
The shelter operates primarily from private donations, with less than 40% of our operating budget coming from government funding. 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to providing food, shelter and assistance to those in need. Our board is comprised entirely of uncompensated volunteers.
Please consider a donation today, as the current state of the economy means more people than ever before are seeking our assistance, even as private sector donations dwindle.
- Single night and short term shelter
- Supportive housing and transitional housing
- Permanent housing transition (unsubsidized)
The Open Door shelter offers two types of housing. Our shelter provides overnight and short-term shelter for those who have no viable options for themselves or their family. We also offer transitional housing for those in between homelessness and the ability to afford market level rental rates.
We seek to avoid chronic homelessness by developing individualized plans, supported by caseworkers, to transition each resident from dependence on the shelter to other housing options along the continuum to independence. This includes counseling, assistance with exploring options, vocational training and assistance through Hope Works, and supportive housing options.
The shelter owns and operates a number of private residences that are rented on a subsidized level to those who are working and can afford to dedicate 1/3 of their income to rent, but cannot yet afford market rates, or are waiting for transition to government-funded long-term options such as Section 8 or HUD subsidized ownership.
- Manna House Soup Kitchen – Three hot meals every day, 365 days a year
- Food pantry – Canned and box foods supporting the working poor with supplemental groceries.
- Holiday food support for Thanksgiving and Christmas — Coordinating the donations of hundreds of turkeys and hams for the holidays
The Manna House kitchen serves three meals a day to residents as well as others in the community in need of hot food. Daily meal volume has grown for the past three years, and now exceeds over 20,000 meals per month.
Our food pantry provides meals and canned/boxed goods to local residents who need to supplement the food they are able to purchase with their own income. Demand for pantry food has also steadily increased, and currently we provide the equivalent of over 40,000 meals per month through our pantry.
You can help by donating boxed or canned food or other, non-perishable food items. You can also participate in our meal sponsorship program, where 100% of your donation goes directly to purchasing food for the hungry.
- One-to-one counseling and support focused on overcoming barriers to independence, and facilitating the transition to self-reliance.
Every client of the Open Door Shelter receives counseling and case-work services. Treating each person on an individual basis, our professional staff acts to determine the underlying reason why the person has come to require the services of the Shelter, and then formulates a plan of action designed to educate, train, rehabilitate and/or enable the individual to return to a fulfilling existence.
It is our goal to provide the assistance and support needed to get clients out of the system and in charge of their own destiny, accomplished through programs such as job counseling, interim housing, financial management and personal guidance.
Associate Executive Director/Client Services
Izora Ebron supervises residents’ services with a staff of 19. Izora has a B.S. degree in Human Services (concentration in Administration), with 32 years of experience in this field. She served on Norwalk’s Fair Rent Commission, Action Housing Board, Side By Side Community School Board, and Trustee Board/Financial Secretary of Calvary Baptist Church.
Director of Operations
Frank Concepcion is the Director of Program Operations. He is responsible for the direction of the Manna House Food Program, facilities management, the clothing room and volunteer services. Frank has over 30 years of experience in Human Services. He is passionate about serving the needy.
Jeannette Archer-Simons has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development, financial management, strategic alignment, fund raising strategy and nonprofit leadership. She has a Bachelors Degree in Economics from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from St. Ambrose University. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration. She joined Open Door Shelter in November 2013.
Anne Godsey has over 32 years of experience in operations, management, sales and non-profit management and development. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Goucher College. She joined Open Door Shelter in March 2015.
John F. Erdmann (Jeff)
Curt “Corky” Stewart