Open Doors’ new COO is on track

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Open Doors low-barrier homeless shelter in Harrisonburg has hired a new operations manager. Nate Riddle stepped into the role this week at a time of great transition for the shelter.

“When the position opened up here at Open Doors, I felt it was a great opportunity to give back to the community and really help those in our community who are at risk and most vulnerable to ensure they have a safe place to stay,” Riddle said.

Riddle grew up in Keezletown and worked with community organizations in health and higher education. He takes over less than a month after the doors closed for the season.

The shelter is currently working on finding a location to open its thermal shelter in November. If none are found, the shelter will rotate between different churches throughout the winter.

“We contacted over 15 different sites about potential rentals, but it didn’t work out. So we have a lot of people in our faith community, several have already reached out and said they would be able to help on certain weeks and we are working with others to make sure we have a good schedule,” said said Riddle.

Riddle said the shelter already has a church registered to cover the first two weeks of the thermal shelter and is working on the logistics of its schedule and transportation. Since the Open House closed in August, the city’s homeless have nowhere to go at night.

As Open Doors awaits construction of its permanent shelter by the City of Harrisonburg, it continues to search for short-term housing. Riddle said he was eager to find a solution.

“I like change, I like times of transition so I guess there’s no better time than now. I look forward to working with community stakeholders, whether they serve the homeless directly or other resources. We are planning strategically to see what it will look like when we have permanent shelter,” he said.

About Ethel Partin

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