ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Doorways for Women and Families is an Arlington nonprofit that serves homeless families and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with safe housing options, including an emergency shelter and long-term housing programs.
Every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Doorways is accepting donations by curbside drop off. Interim President and CEO Maureen Devine-Ahl says many of Doorways’ clients have been laid off. If they’re still working, they’re working essential jobs and are at higher risk of contracting the virus. All of their clients are at risk, though; Doorways is currently assessing its clients individual risks, like job loss, housing insecurity, food insecurity, access to childcare, and underlying health conditions to figure out how to serve them as the pandemic continues.
“What’s most important for us right now is, honestly, flexible funding,” Devine-Ahl said. “Because we don’t know what some of these demands are going to be so having those flexible funds to respond to our clients’ needs is really important for us.”
Doorways is also making sure its clients have access to the community’s organizations, like food pantries and other nonprofits, that may also meet their needs.
Devine-Ahl says Doorways spent the first three weeks of the pandemic protecting its clients. Doorways studied homelessness prevention efforts across the country and distributed PPE for clients and staff. Staff members are working from home. At-risk clients and those who are still working essential jobs have been put up in hotels.
Doorways has spent the last two weeks reminding the community that its Doorways’ resources are still available. Arlington’s 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline is 703-237-0881. The hotline is also the gateway to the Doorways Domestic Violence Safehouse for women and families fleeing imminent danger. The hotline may also connect survivors of sexual assault with hospital accompaniment.