WHAT WE DO
As the area's only low-barrier shelter, we are dedicated to providing an inclusive and safe place for individuals experiencing homelessness to stay. In collaboration with partners, we ensure a warm and nourishing meal for each guest. Utilizing a collaborative approach, we work diligently to provide access to and navigation of the many great community resources that can help our guests achieve success. This includes collaborating with the Suitcase Clinic, which offers in-house services for guests each Wednesday evening. In addition to shelter, we also "hit the streets" to meet individuals where they are.
In mid-2022, the City of Harrisonburg purchased the former Presbytery and announced that the grounds would be home to the City's first permanent low-barrier shelter. Construction will occur in a phased approach, with an estimated operational date of November 2023. Until then, Open Doors continues a rotating model in partnership with the faith and community organizations through the thermal season, but anticipates operating the permanent low-barrier shelter when the project is completed.
To provide shelter, compassionate support and access to services for those who are experiencing homelessness in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham community.
Our vision is to successfully operate a permanent year-around shelter by 2024 in partnership with the City of Harrisonburg, and with the support of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham community.
Dignity: We are all human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity.
Integrity: Integrity is the foundation by which we act, provide services, and engage our community. Compassion: Compassion guides our interactions and services within our community.
Advocacy: We commit to fiercely advocating for those experiencing homelessness in our community.
Kindness: We build trust when we treat everyone with kindness.
In 2007, members of the Interfaith Association recognized a need for a homeless shelter in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham area that would be low-barrier and available to those who are not eligible to stay at other shelters. This low-barrier philosophy means that all who are homeless and over the age of 18 are welcome in our shelter when they have nowhere else to go. At the time, those who work with the homeless population estimated that anywhere from 8 to 20 people were on the streets at night, regardless of temperature and weather conditions.
Thanks to the great work of a task force made up of local clergy, members of faith communities, as well as social services and housing authority representatives, the non-profit organization known as HARTS (Harrisonburg And Rockingham Thermal Shelter) was officially created on November 27, 2007.
In 2013, the decision was made to begin the process of looking to the future and how we want to be known to our guests and to our community.
In choosing our new name, we wanted to convey to those who are in need of shelter that our doors are always open to them. Furthermore, as we move into the future and have recognized needs to expand our program to include case management and referral services. We want to open doors for our clients to provide them resources that will help to end the cycle of chronic homelessness.
Thanks to the help of Gravity Group, our new name - Open Doors, was chosen and implemented in the Fall of 2013.