4 Merritt Street
The 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.
Agency Contact Information
The Open Door Shelter (formerly known as Norwalk Emergency Shelter, Inc.) has provided comprehensive services for homeless and men, women, and families living in poverty since 1984. The core strategy at Open Door Shelter begins with satisfying the basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter. Then the organization provides case management counseling to identify the challenges faced by each individual and family. The Shelter supports and connects people in crisis to resources and services that address their health, mental health, addiction, employment and housing issues. Through intensive case management, the agency helps the impoverished and homeless achieve a level of security and well-being that allows them to experience personal responsibility and eventually become contributing members of society. During the fiscal year July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, the shelter successfully provided 30,439 bed nights for 381 homeless men, women, and families including 55 children. The shelter averages daily service to 20 single women, 46 single men - plus, 9 overflow beds, and 29 members of families including 12-18 children. This proposal anticipates serving between 380 and 420 individuals during the next year. In addition, the Manna House Food Program; a soup kitchen that is open to shelter clients and those living in poverty in the community, provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days per week to those in need. The shelter also provides a food pantry, where food is distributed daily to the impoverished. Last year a total of 133,078 hot meals were served or an average of 370 meals a day. In addition the shelter pantry provided 266,520 meals to individuals living in poverty. The case management services team of five and a job coach provided homeless individuals and families with assistance including counseling, crisis intervention, goal planning, referrals to additional community support services, financial management, job training, transitional housing support, use of guest telephones and computers, and access to food, shelter, shower and laundry facilities. The organization also provides onsite access to health, mental health and dental care through a partnership with the Norwalk Community Health Center Medical Bus. Case managers are trained in Rapid Re-housing and Permanent Supportive Housing case management support. The housing process for homeless individuals includes identifying financial subsidies and programs that will support permanent housing, assisting with documents and applications, outreach to landlords, and working with the Norwalk Housing First collaborative to identify and inspect housing options for shelter clients. The organization connects individuals and families needing supportive housing as part of the Norwalk Housing First Collaborative. The case managers in the collaborative use a CTI case management methodology, an evidence based model to empower clients to regain and sustain self-sufficiency. CTI strengthens the individual’s long-term ties to services, family, and friends and provides emotional and practical support during the critical time of transition and the months that follow. To ensure individuals/families have long-term ties to wraparound supports, Case Managers continually assess the dynamic needs of consumers and make referrals as appropriate.