Get Involved-Spotlight: Green Doors
Green Doors’ Vision
Green Doors is dedicated to the proposition that no one – whether a child or adult, disabled or not, man or woman – should be allowed to live without stable housing. Many in our community struggle with homelessness and poverty. Green Doors’ vision is that one day all Central Texas families and individuals will have the opportunity to live in affordable, safe, quality housing. The organization is committed to substantially increasing neighborhood wellness and environmental sustainability in historically blighted areas of Austin and ensuring that all members of our community are valued and treated with human dignity.
Green Doors’ Mission
Green Doors’ mission is to prevent and help end homelessness and poverty housing for those working to achieve independent living in Central Texas. Green Doors accomplishes this by: creating affordable, safe, quality housing; providing residents with access to supportive services; and educating about, and advocating for, individuals and families struggling with homelessness and at-risk of homelessness.
Green Doors’ History
Over the last three years, Green Doors has made considerable strides to grow its impact on the community. In 2006, Green Doors operated 7 properties, serving over 40 homeless veterans annually. Today, the organization operates 37 properties serving over 230 residents and manages 54 housing rental assistance vouchers for lower income households throughout our community who have exited or are at-risk of homelessness. In addition, during this same period Green Doors grew its food pantry from serving several hundred individuals annually to almost 3700 individuals in 2009.
Green Doors’ Current Programs
Green Doors’ programmatic activity is broken out into 3 areas: 1) Housing; 2) Homeless Prevention Services; and 3) Education/Advocacy. Green Doors’ Housing Program is focused on creating different types of housing tailored to the needs of residents. Throughout Austin, the organization owns and manages 37 properties, serving 230 residents annually, and manages 54 housing rental assistance vouchers for low income households. Through these opportunities, Green Doors is able to serve a variety of people struggling with poverty/homelessness, including veterans, persons with disabilities, and single parent families.
Green Doors Homeless Prevention Services Program focuses on providing low-income households in Austin with basic necessities that enable them to prioritize their limited income to meet their housing needs. This program includes a food pantry and clothing closet. Through this program, Green Doors assists annually over 3700 individuals.
Green Doors’ 3rd program, Education & Advocacy, focuses on educating the public about issues of homelessness/poverty. This program is comprised of 2 initiatives: 1) Opportunity Mapping and 2) Tex S. Taxpayer Series. Started in 2006, Opportunity Mapping is a regional initiative focusing on the nexus between housing and opportunity. It provides a comprehensive framework (via maps) for the organization and the community to understand how housing interacts with other important public policy issues, including education, economic mobility, health, environment, and neighborhood stability. The Tex S. Taxpayer Series is a homelessness education outreach project. Its purpose is to move the public to take action on the homelessness issue. Green Doors created 3 video shorts that demonstrate the price we all pay if we do not adequately address the issue.
Green Doors’ Volunteer Program
Founded in 1990 by a formerly homeless young woman, Green Doors was started as an all-volunteer, grassroots, people-helping-people non-profit organization. Volunteers have always been, and continue to be, crucial support to the organization.
Volunteering for a Community Building Project is an opportunity to directly impact our residents’ quality of life by participating in fun, rewarding projects that improve and beautify our communities’ indoor and outdoor environments. Tree plantings, furniture builds, community gardening days, all of these are ways to help Green Doors provide our residents the best home environment possible.
The Green Doors Food Pantry provides a weekly supply of groceries to limited-income individuals and families so they can prioritize their income to meet their housing needs. Every week, we need eight to ten volunteers in the pantry to help with loading, unloading, stocking, and distributing over two tons of food. On average, we serve 400 people a month and we could not do this without volunteer help.
Public Advocacy is an important piece of Green Doors’ mission, and, without volunteers, our ability to get the word out in the community would be limited. Whether you join a street team during one of our advocacy campaigns or you represent Green Doors at an event or fair, volunteers can get involved by advocating for Green Doors and raising awareness about the benefits of actively addressing homelessness.