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Stimulus payments makes things harder for some clients at Triad homeless shelter

The executive director says some residents struggle with addiction, with hard times, and with the extra money, some fall back into the trap of addiction.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — For more than 25 years Open Door Ministries has fed and provided housing for the homeless.

But sticking to their mission of hope and healing, has been tough this year.

"We’re not able to have as many people on site," said Ryan Ross, Executive Director of Open Door Ministries. "We’re not allowed to feed people inside who aren’t living here."

With the need greater than ever, they got creative and offered to go meals.

But there was no way around them cutting housing at the shelter in half because of the pandemic.

 Ross said folks are staying much longer than they typically would.

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He said businesses aren't hiring like they use to.

"Within 30 days we try to help them get housed, find a job that kind a thing," Ross said. "Through the pandemic we’ve had guys here 4-5  months 6 months even."

To top it off, some residents are fighting to stay clean.

Open Door having to cancel their substance abuse meetings for social distancing reasons doesn't help.

"It’s a daily struggle  to not be on drugs and stay sober," Ross said. "When we’re not having those meetings it makes it challenging for our guys."

The trap addiction becomes more tempting when stimulus checks drop.

The $600 stimulus payments going out are designed to help Americans get by, but Ross said the payments are making things harder for some people.

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“The drug dealers in the area consider themselves essential businesses so they kept working so we have guys that were doing really well that had been sober for a couple months then when the stimulus hit and the guys got extra money you saw a lot of guys who were doing really well fall back into that run with drugs again," Ross said. 

Open Door does have a financial advisor who is working with residents to make sure they spend the money wisely.

Ross said the vaccine and their mission of hope and healing keeps his team optimistic.