Public Storage Helps Texas Nonprofit Serve Young Adult Homeless in the Community

Feb 12, 2021 / Liset Marquez

When Houston-based nonprofit Open Gate Homeless Ministries needed space to hold excess donated clothes, among other items, they turned to Public Storage.

Open Gate has worked to change the lives of young adult homeless in their community by providing warm meals, blankets and clean clothes when they have no one else to turn to. It has provided them with a safe place to gather.

In recent years, Open Gate expanded its clothing donation collection to keep up with the needs in the community, but with operations mostly remote, there was a big need to find a place to store all its items.

For nearly 50 years, Public Storage has offered a range of unit sizes and amenities. As the industry leader with almost 2,500 locations, we have storage near you.

That’s what drew Open Gate and its board member Denis Kelly to one of our Houston locations a little more than a year ago. Open Gate, a nonprofit and ministry of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, serves homeless young adults in Houston.

Kelly said having a location so close is what sold him on Public Storage.

He found his nearest Public Storage location online and with the help of the property manager, he found a drive up unit.

“When they showed me the unit, I was like 'oh, we got to have it,'”; he recalled.

The ground-level space gives Kelly the confidence to send volunteers to retrieve donations and not have to worry about asking them to climb two or three flights of stairs.

“I have to look long term, and that was one of the reasons we picked you,”; he said. “It’s worked out perfect.”;

That’s just one of the reasons we’re so accommodating to our customers such as Open Gate, said Chris Walter, a regional manager based in Houston.

We reduce costs for businesses and nonprofits nationwide.

“With the right size, right fit, we know they are paying for the space they need,”; Walter said. “Being able to store their overhead without actually having to purchase warehouse space or office space is a big benefit.”;

Helping Houston’s Young Adult Homeless

meals delivered by houston based nonprofit offered to young adult homeless in community

For the past 14 years, Open Gate’s simple acts of kindness to Houston’s young adult homeless with various services, including a weekly made-from-scratch meal and hygiene kits are helping to change lives.

“Our founders wanted to have a safe place for young adults,”; said Kelly, a longtime volunteer who previously worked as the organization’s office coordinator.

They have provided warm coats and jackets and a safe place for Houston’s young adult homeless community.

As the need has increased, Open Gate has responded vowing not to turn away anyone from a fresh meal. They began with volunteers serving between 25 and 35 people a meal every Sunday out of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church. Now, those numbers have gone up to 50-75 meals a week for unhoused young adults.

The nonprofit has been primarily volunteer-based. The one or two staff members on board both work remotely.

“We don’t have an office, and we have a small space we use at the church, but most of the operations has been remote,”; he said.

As Open Gate did more outreach, there was a need for storage. The space provided by the church allowed Open Gate to store a limited supply of items on-site.

But the nonprofit is always receiving, and in need of coats, jackets, and sweaters in good condition, Kelly said.

“People don’t realize how much youth we have that are homeless,”; he explained. “When they come and get clothes, they like to blend in with the other young adults.”;

The nonprofit even helped purchase two washers and two dryers for a high school near George Bush Intercontinental Airport so unhoused young adults can wash their clothes.

The nonprofit also accepts sleeping bag donations. The goal is to always have dozens of sleeping bags in storage to hand out when the weather conditions warrant it.

“When there’s (a natural disaster) in Houston, we want to be able to have sleeping bags so the church can open up the fellowship hall and put people in there,”; Kelly explained.

Open Gate also has a large stock of blankets in their Public Storage unit. Volunteers often go out to the community and give out blankets in the winter.

“This year we’re not seeing the cold weather that we were seeing before so we can just store them in our storage unit,”; he said.

Open Gate is not the only nonprofit who has benefitted from Public Storage space. In Southern California, the nonprofit nonprofit Carry the Future chose Public Storage chose Public Storage to be able to collect a variety of donations for refugees.

In Florida, this female-focused nonprofit Cosmetics for a Cause turned to Public Storage to help grow their operations.

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