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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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OPENING DOORS. In 2016 Opening Doors was a community non-profit service organization initiated by six Catholic women's religious congregations in the Dubuque area. It was founded in 2000 to assist women needing emergency/transitional housing for reasons other than domestic violence. (1)

Opening Doors offered short-term emergency shelter services and an extended-stay program through TERESA SHELTER and transitional housing MARIA HOUSE. Opening Doors valued the dignity of women and supported them in claiming their own power and in making the choices appropriate for developing personal responsibility to live independently in permanent housing. Opening Doors achieved its mission by working collaboratively with other community resources. (2)

Determining the number of homeless living outside as well as those living in shelters in the city was done by a semi-annual "point-in-time" count. Volunteers explored areas in which homeless had been found in the past. They offered blankets, hats and anything useful for the winter months to anyone they found as well as discussing why they were living this way and their interest in finding shelter. (3)

In 2017 Michelle Brown, the only person to serve as director since 2000, stepped down and her successor, Carol Gebhart was named. Gebhart was president of the Opening Doors Board of Directors. (4)

See: Helen HUEWE



1. Rezab, Matthew. "Brown Steps Down at Opening Doors; Successor Named," Telegraph Herald, November 21, 2017, p. 1A

2. Montgomery, Jeff. "Dubuque Woman Does Her Homework on Homelessness," Telegraph Herald, January 9, 2017, p. 5A

3. Ibid.

4. Rexab