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Now through September, Amazon employee gifts to 20 select nonprofits matched one-to-one up to $5 million total
Arlington, VA – June 11, 2019 – Today, Amazon announced that the company is matching employee donations to 20 select charities that address housing and homelessness in its two headquarter regions, Arlington and Seattle, through September 30, 2019. Doorways is among the organizations selected to receive these donations and a portion of up to $5 million in one-for-one matching funds from Amazon. Amazon focuses on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programs, as well as programs that support immediate needs. Doorways’ comprehensive response includes emergency shelter, long-term housing and supportive services that ensure clients’ immediate safety and build long-term stability.
“Together with our employees, we will donate to nonprofits located in Washington State, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, whose missions support affordable housing and people experiencing homelessness,” said Jay Carney, SVP, Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon, in their press release. Furthermore, Amazon is committed to helping all children and young adults, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities, have the resources and skills they need to build their best future.
“We are honored and grateful to be chosen by Amazon as a community partner addressing housing and homelessness,” said Caroline Jones, MSW, Doorways President and CEO. “We see tremendous opportunity and potential to fill a critical gap in our community for families and young people in particular.”
Over the course of the last five years, transition-aged youth—those ages 18 to 24—have been the fastest-growing population that Doorways serves. Youth now comprise 40% of adults living in Doorways’ Family Home shelter and HomeStart Supportive Housing Program. Some are still in school, and some are parenting children of their own. Recent groundbreaking research from Voices of Youth Count, an initiative of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, found that 1 in 10 transition-aged youth experience homelessness each year. Chapin Hall found that youth with less than a high school diploma or GED had a 346 percent higher risk for homelessness; unmarried parenting youth had a 200 percent higher risk; and Black or African American youth had an 83 percent higher risk. As their research shows, early intervention is essential to preventing these youth from becoming trapped in cycles of poverty, homelessness and violence.
Doorways’ programs and services, including its innovative Pathways for Youth, impacted more than 4,100 adults, youth and children last year alone. Ninety-seven percent of residents in Doorways’ emergency shelters were people of color, and 97 percent were women. Sidney, a young woman of color, described Doorways as “a do-over, and a fresh start.” She became homeless before her senior year of high school. Her school guidance counselor connected her with Doorways, who welcomed her into the Family Home, where she lived throughout her senior year. While supporting her in school, Doorways also provided Sidney with the resources and skills she needed overcome the negative impacts of trauma and to build a brighter future, including helping her continue immediate and plan long-term educational goals and secure an apartment of her own after she graduated. Today, Doorways continues to support Sidney as she works toward additional education and career goals. Doorways is proud to share that Sidney has been stably housed for nearly two years.
For youth like Sidney, Doorways offers the only support of its kind in the community. There is no dedicated youth shelter in Arlington. Doorways has only one Youth Advocate dedicated to providing the essential, developmentally targeted supports that young people need. Through its Revive Domestic & Sexual Violence Counseling Program, Doorways provides Arlington’s only trauma-informed counseling for children, teens and adults who have experienced intimate partner abuse, which often occurs before, during and after homelessness. Doorways’ Children’s Services provides dedicated support for kids of all ages impacted by homelessness and domestic violence who are living in shelter or supportive housing.
“There is already a gap between the need and this community’s response,” said Jones, “and the need is only growing. I am so proud of what our team and our community has accomplished so far, yet there is so much more to be done. Joining forces with a partner like Amazon would be a game-changer for these youth and for generations to come.”
Amazon also announced a $3-million one-time gift to the Arlington Community Foundation. “Since 2000, Arlington County has lost nearly 90% of its market affordable housing stock. Amazon’s donation is a significant investment in our community and will support critical issues like housing affordability that are important to Northern Virginians,” said Jennifer Owens, the foundation’s President and CEO, in the release. Amazon chose to support the foundation “because of their work and progress on housing stability and helping families improve their quality of life,” said Carney. “We believe this gift can help offer additional housing and support services for our neighbors in need.”
“Together with Amazon and our partners, we can change homelessness in this community,” Jones said.