As a volunteer, donor and supporter of the Norwalk Emergency Shelter (aka Open Door Shelter and Manna House Soup Kitchen), I have seen firsthand the good work and invaluable services provided by the staff. They care about people in need and do their absolute best to provide temporary assistance and to offer counsel and services to help their clientele regain their footing in society.
I was surprised by the low overall rating, but see that one old and misguided review is dragging down the average. This is a homeless shelter operating on a shoestring budget. They are understaffed and overworked, but do their absolute best. The food provided through the soup kitchen may not be gourmet, but it is prepared in a Health Department certified environment by staff and volunteers who care.
Homelessness is an emergency. Whether residents are chronically homeless due to psychiatric disorders or drug addictions, or non-chronically homeless due to job loss, abuse, or any number of other unlucky reasons, a shelter is first and foremost protection and safety. The Open Door Shelter provides all residents whatever services are required to create an exit strategy. The new Hope Works jobs training program offers residents who want it the chance to make it. Granted, it is not the Comfort Inn, but it adheres to all state health regulations and provides a temporary home for renewal and independence. The employees, volunteers, partners, corporate supporters, and board members are there to make a difference and do so on a daily basis.
Review from Guidestar
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big wrote: March 09, 2011
The shelter is now under new management. The new executive director is extremely passionate about the residents and has a strong clinical intervention plan. He is working hard to straighten out years of neglect & abandonment. We need the residents of Norwalk to come together in support of our new director & give him the chance to make the Open Door Shelter the very best any shelter can possibly be. A place that provides a temporary home while providing clinical, psychological, educational, emotional support & job training opportunities, before they are sent back to independence.
i visited this shelter rescently and right away i noticed the difference since the new CEO came in two weeks ago, he is friendly, smart, intuitive, client focused and eager to institute structure and organization. He is a big bodybuilder guy with gentle demeanor and has interest in bringing treatment to the shelter. You should go visit this guy. awesome
They keep people there far too long without working with them on housing. The food is not healthy for living things and the ducts probably have not been cleaned for 10 years in the female dorm. All of the women in there start wheezing and coughing and there is no fresh air to breathe and no air circulation. The place is vastly overcrowded. The apartments, however, are a nice respite from the constant BLARING TV AND SCREAMING PEOPLE. Staff vary- some are very good- others worse behaved than the clients they "suspend". (kick out). No mental health services at all. They don't realize when someone is dangerous or having severe hallucinations. They kick out the drunks but not the crackheads and heroin addicts. Constant threats of SUSPENSION (being kicked out on the street) for things that vary by staff. Rules not followed by some staff and some clients.