Erin McDonough

Norwalk’s approach to ending homelessness could be model for rest of CT

No municipality in the country has ended all forms of homelessness… But that’s exactly what Norwalk is trying to do. Not just for youth, not just for veterans, not just for individuals – for everyone. And it may become a model for the rest of the state, according to officials from Opening Doors Fairfield County. “We’re …

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Norwalk school supply donations offer ‘boost of confidence’ to students

Backpack drives across the city are providing relief to hundreds of families who may struggle with the cost of back-to-school shopping this fall. “Backpack and school supply donations are such a huge help because they help parents make sure their children are prepared for school and don’t feel like they have to go without, and …

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Open Doors FOC celebrates first Savings Match Program graduates

The first graduates of the Savings Match Program at Open Doors’ Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) celebrated their successes on Friday, July 22. Each client works with FOC financial coach Eddy Agyeman to create a plan with their budget to save at least $400 over six months.  Open Doors initially planned to match each dollar saved, …

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New Canaan HS junior founds Feeding 500 to address poverty in Fairfield County

“It’s awesome to see people going out of their way to help us,” Oliver Tuff, the 17-year-old president and founder of Feeding 500 said.  The organization’s name comes from the goal to have each of six teams of New Canaan High School students feed meals to 500 people.  Since its inception in early 2021, students …

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Open Doors Presents at LISC CT Financial Opportunity Center open house

On May 17th, 2022, LISC was joined by over 70 community partners at the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) Network 2nd Annual Virtual Open House. LISC presenters included Michele Conderino, Executive Director and Eddy Agyeman, Financial Coach & Digital Literacy from Open Doors. Michele Conderino, Executive Director at Open Doors, highlighted the impact of the pandemic on …

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Students aim to feed thousands through New Canaan food drive

High school-aged students held a food drive Sunday in New Canaan to feed thousands of people in need across Fairfield County. The group Feeding 500 held the drive at Walter Stewart’s Market where they collected non-perishable food items for Open Doors, a housing and homeless organization. “We started with the original goal of feeding 500 …

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Evictions could top pre-COVID numbers, hit vulnerable communities hardest

Evictions are devastating, and increasing rents across the state are making it harder for our neighbors to be able to stay in their homes. “Average rents in Connecticut have increased by more than 15% year over year… Meanwhile, more than 50% of renters are cost-burdened, or pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs.” Connecticut …

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More than a shelter: Open Doors hopes to end homelessness

The cost of living, particularly in Fairfield County is increasing at a significant rate and debt can quickly snowball if you’re unprepared. “Sometimes changes such as divorce, major medical expenses, or the loss of a job can upend your budget and if you don’t have the savings; that’s how it can all start,” says Open …

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Open Doors outreach workers Samm Williams and JP Rossi visit a train station to connect with people who are living outdoors

Outreach workers seek out homeless CT residents in annual count

Each year, homeless service providers across the country coordinate a Point In Time (PIT) count.  Typically, volunteers go out and survey people experiencing unsheltered homelessness for that one day. However, the methodology had to change due to safety concerns. Outreach case managers Samm Williams and JP Rossi were among the outreach teams and homeless specialists …

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