What is Opening Doors?

Opening Doors is the nonprofit organization that operates Teresa Shelter, Maria House and a supportive housing program at Francis Apartments.  Homeless women, alone or with children, come to us to help rebuild their lives.  We provide goal setting and life skills training that will enable them to take care of themselves and achieve their full potential.  Women are dependent when they come in…independent when they leave.

How did Opening Doors get started?

In the fall of 1997, a member of the Dubuque City Council recognized the need for emergency and transitional housing for women and children. This need was brought to the attention of six Catholic women’s religious communities who committed seed money for the project. For more information, visit our History page.

When was Opening Doors incorporated?

Opening Doors was incorporated on June 18, 1999, and became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.

How many women and children has Opening Doors (Maria House & Teresa Shelter) served since 2000?


How many women and children does each shelter hold?

52: Maria House has a capacity of up to 18 women and children and Teresa Shelter has 34 available beds.  Opening Doors has 8 of the 12 units at Francis Apartments for clients of our program.

What is the Mission and Vision of Opening Doors?

Mission Statement: Opening Doors offers hospitality and opportunity to women, alone or with children, who need emergency/transitional housing and related support services.

Vision: In collaboration with existing community resources and services, our vision is to offer a variety of opportunities for women to affirm their dignity and to achieve their potential for independent living in an environment that will benefit the neighborhood.

What are the Values of Opening Doors?

Compassion– To demonstrate a caring concern for each person
Respect – To treat each person with dignity
Affirmation – To invite and encourage personal development
Hospitality – To offer a welcoming environment

What is the difference between Maria House & Teresa Shelter?

Since 2000 Maria House has provided transitional housing, where residents can stay for as long as two years.  In 2006, we opened Teresa Shelter.  It offers short-term emergency shelter services and an extended stay program, where woman can stay for up to one year.

Is there any other place in Dubuque that offers the same services as Opening Doors?

No. There are several other excellent programs that have some commonalities with the programs offered by Opening Doors, but none that offer the same services.

  • Hillcrest Transitional Apartment program has five apartments.  Families, including men, can live for up to two years in a temporary, supported housing program.
  • Manasseh House and Salvia House offer permanent housing for single women, with support services.
  • The Domestic Violence Shelter operated by the Dubuque Community Y operates a shelter for women who are currently experiencing an abusive situation.  Opening Doors does not provide the safe house environment required for this population.  However, women sometimes move to Maria House or Teresa Shelter after they have completed their 60-day maximum stay at the Domestic Violence Shelter.
  • Mary’s Inn is a maternity home for single, expectant mothers.

Is Opening Doors a United Way agency?

Yes.  Opening Doors is very grateful for the support it receives from the United Way, which amounts to about 6 percent of our annual budget.

How else is Opening Doors Funded?

  • Donations: 62%
  • Grants: 29%
  • United Way: 6%
  • Program Fees: 2%
  • Interest: 1%

How can I get involved?

  • Volunteer: Email volunteer@openingdoorsdbq.org or  visit our Volunteer page
  • Donate: your tax-deductible cash donation would be greatly appreciated!
    Make an online donation
  • Wish List Donation:  Visit our Wish List page for a list of items that are needed at Maria House and Teresa Shelter.
  • “Attitude of Gratitude” fall dinner & auction – Volunteer, sponsor, or come as a guest – More Information
  • Fundraisers – Host “A Bed of Hope” or Wish List community fundraiser! Contact Ann Lorenz at 563-582-7480, or email alorenz@openingdoorsdbq.org, for more information.