Founded in 1988, DOORWAYS is an interfaith non-profit organization, which provides housing and related supportive services to improve quality of life and health outcomes for people affected by HIV/AIDS.
What We Do
Through an equity lens and without discrimination, DOORWAYS serves a widely diverse population at the intersection of poverty, homelessness, and illness from HIV. We support them on their journey to a more self-directed life, removing disenfranchisement, inequality, and isolation through housing programs and 360-degrees of empowerment support that provide the stabilization needed to successfully manage an HIV medical regimen. Advances in medications can now render the virus undetectable, which means untransmissable. Stopping the spread of HIV means the end of HIV for future generations!
In the 1980s, people diagnosed with the frightening new disease called HIV/AIDS were abandoned by families, shunned by society, and reduced to poverty. Many died desperate, alone, and homeless. In 1988, faith leaders from the Catholic Church; a Jewish synagogue; the United Church of Christ; and the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian Church communities united with area civic leaders to form DOORWAYS to offer compassionate hospice care, allowing those with AIDS to die with dignity. As medications evolved, DOORWAYS responded by shifting its focus from caring for the dying to rebuilding lives for the living.
A New Face of HIV
As HIV became treatable, people with stable housing, healthcare, finances, education, and community support (the Social Determinants of Health–SDOH) were able to manage the illness, living a near-normal life. For people living a legacy of poverty, their SDOH environments have collapsed, allowing the face of HIV to shift to an invisible population: the poor and homeless, a vulnerable and disenfranchised community ignored by society. Please see our Client page for more information.
Growing Client Needs
Over the years, staff witnessed worsening client conditions, arriving with mental health battles and substance use challenges thanks to the opioid epidemic. We needed to expand capacity but were out of space. As new cases of HIV continued rising each year, and numbers of people achieving undetectable status was stagnating, something had to change.
After years of research and analysis with multitudes of experts and consultants, DOORWAYS was ready to expand to meet growing need. In 2018, the agency launched a $40M expansion project to construct the new Jefferson Avenue Campus. Opened in 2022, it combined housing with extensive ONSITE services to remove access and navigation barriers.
DOORWAYS continues as the only agency in the region dedicated to providing housing to individuals living with HIV and their family members.
Founded to care for those dying alone and homeless.
With medical advances, we shifted to rebuilding lives for the living.
- Pellowski, Jennifer, et.al. “A pandemic of the poor: social disadvantage and the U.S. HIV epidemic.” Am. Psychol. 2013 May-Jun. 68(4)197-209. Web accessed.
- Aidala, PhD, Angela, et. al. “Housing Status, Medical Care, and Health Outcomes Among People Living With HIV/AIDS: A Systematic Review.” Am J Public Health. 2016 January. 106(1):e1-e23.