Get Involved: Doorways
The nationally recognized local organization provides secure housing and supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Midwest.
For many living with HIV or AIDS, health care and the cost of medication make basic living expenses impossible. Furthermore, social ostracization and recurring illness sometimes prevents those living with the disease from maintaining steady employment. Not only are the financial burdens steep for those living with the disease; the physical and spiritual needs are also profound.
Doorways, an interfaith organization that provides safe housing and support for people living with HIV/ AIDS and their families in the St. Louis region, is one of most comprehensive AIDS housing programs in the nation. Doorways was founded in 1988 when a group of St. Louis community leaders and representatives from the area’s major religious denominations recognized the growing need for housing for people with HIV/AIDS, especially the very poor.
Young volunteers beautify the grounds at one of Doorways’ housing facilities.
Housing is Healthcare
“Housing is key to the long-term management of HIV disease because it is the foundation for access to health care, nutrition and social services—all the things people need when they are sick,” Lynne M. Cooper, D. Min., Doorways President and CEO. “It’s also the first and most important thing people are likely to lose when they become ill.”
To date, the organization has served nearly 6,600 households and has twice been the recipient of a Best Practice Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Dr. Cooper is a former board member for the National AIDS Housing Coalition and served two terms on President Clinton’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in Washington.
“Doorways raises $6 million a year to support a variety of housing programs in the St. Louis region and across Missouri and Illinois, so financial support is key,” says Dr. Cooper. “But we also seek volunteers to make meaningful contributions in every area, from gardening at our sites to assisting in the office.”
Gather a group or rally your workplace to collect personal care and cleaning items from the list of current needs on organization’s website, such as toothbrushes, diapers and clothing. Volunteer to help at Doorways’ Family Residential Complex for low-income parents living with HIV/AIDS by providing afternoon and weekend activities for the kids or help organize neighborhood events at Doorways’ various housing communities.
And don’t forget to mark your calendar for Doorways’ ninth annual RED event on February 6. Bravo’s Andy Cohen will host this year’s fundraiser, “RED 2010 on Broadway,” a night of musical entertainment, food and fun for a good cause. “It’s an honor and a privilege to have Andy, who is so talented, smart and funny, speak out on behalf of Doorways, and our clients who depend upon us for their housing and care,” says Dr. Cooper. “For 20 years, Andy has provided auction items, his personal and professional connections in show business and moral support for all Doorways events and activities.”
For more info on how you can get involved with Doorways, log on to www.doorwayshousing.org.
Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Doorways