ST. LOUIS — Doorways, an interfaith nonprofit that provides housing services for people living with HIV/AIDS, plans to build a $7 million, 50-apartment campus in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood.
“This campus will give us a new headquarters in addition to 50 new housing units in the first phase,” said Doorways President and CEO Opal Jones.
Doorways has already acquired most of the land — about 4.6 acres of mostly vacant real estate at Gamble and Stoddard streets — just northwest of the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue. She said Doorways hopes to begin construction by October and complete it by the end of next year.
The organization, formed in 1988 and currently based out of a building at 4385 Maryland Avenue in the Central West End, owns and operates seven apartment buildings with 103 units around the city. It provides housing for clients unable to live independently, as well as rent and utility assistance to people struggling to make ends meet. Its client list has doubled in the past six years to over 3,000, Jones said.
Jones said more than half of people with HIV/AIDS will be homeless at some point in their lives, and Doorways’ emphasis on housing as part of its services for the population is a novel approach among groups that assist people with HIV/AIDS.
Doorways has raised about $14 million of a $17 million capital campaign goal, about $4 million of it through private donations, Jones said. In addition to construction costs, the campaign will fund an expansion of mental health, substance abuse and employment services, among others, to help clients live independently.
Last month, the Missouri Housing Development Commission approved $6.28 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits over 10 years for the project. The project also plans to use about $3.2 million in low-interest loans and grants from programs administered by the state housing commission.
Jones said there is room on the Doorways’ new site to expand within the next five years and potentially add another 30 or so apartment units.