The Open Door
The Open Door, Inc., is a nonprofit agency whose mission is <em>to provide a supportive housing program that improves the health of the forgotten population of high risk, chronically homeless people living with HIV. The primary services of The Open Door include safe and affordable housing, medication adherence support, peer-led assistance with problem-solving such as role modeling, conflict resolution and navigating the local care system, and Representative Payee services. A representative payee is an individual or entity to whom clients income is entrusted, and who then takes care of the clients financial responsibilities. Although serving as a Rep Payee was not the original vision of our founding board members, it became quickly apparent that this service made a significant difference in the lives of our residents. Increasing financial stability helps clients to see that we are there to help, reduces their stress levels, reduces chaos in their lives, and ultimately enables them to prioritize their health. We are now looking to hire our first paid Executive Director. In addition to administrative oversight and development activities, this full-time paid position will enable us to provide Rep Payee services to individuals who have not been housed in our program. Our target population includes individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS who are disenfranchised as a result of multiple challenges including addiction, chronic homelessness, housing instability, mental health diagnoses, and serious criminal histories. All of these issues contribute to high morbidity and mortality rates for this population. We have learned how to help people address these issues to improve their clinical diagnoses and documented success in doing so. It should also be noted that improving medication adherence in this population also decreases the likelihood of their transmitting the virus to others.