The Sophia Way Programs
We believe in the necessity of shelter and safe living conditions for all persons. Our goal is to address this fundamental need of citizens of our community and improve the quality of life of adult homeless women. We believe in the equality of all, cherishing diversity, and treating each person we meet—client, volunteer, donor, staff—with the same respect, dignity, and care. The Sophia Way journey’s alongside women as they transition from homelessness to stable housing.
Shelter and Housing: We have a shelter for adult women experiencing homelessness in King County. It is a staffed facility that provides comfortable and safe living conditions for our clients, including raised beds, semiprivate cubicle-style bedrooms, individual lockers, shower, computers, library, a dining/classroom area as well as a large hygiene center. Our housing support includes subsidized housing and a community home. The Sophia Way also aids women in applying for other affordable housing options.
Case management with professional staff is offered weekly once a woman enters the program. These regular meetings provide the opportunity to determine what roadblocks need to be overcome and a plan to address these needs is determined. Our staff looks for every opportunity to teach and model the skills and behavior that our clients need to master.
Each participant in the program learns how to tackle the common issues of daily life, experiencing life much as she would if she were on her own. Once these skills have been mastered by routinely completing assigned chores and participating in life skills coaching/classes they are ready to move into the next stage which is independent housing in the community.
Sophia’s Thrift Shoppe: Serves as an opportunity for women to gain employment skills training and provide employers with financial incentives to give women who complete the Employment Skills Certification Program a second chance. It is a thrift store that also generates additional income for the Sophia Way.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Last year we opened our new shelter, Sophia’s Place at St. Luke’s for our clients. The new Sophia’s Place has doubled our capacity which allows us to serve more women. It provides significantly better living conditions for our clients and more facilities including conference rooms / meeting space.
Recently we opened Sophia’s Thrift Shoppe with the goal to enhance employment opportunities for our clients - leading towards increased income and financial stability. This new program will work as an on-the-job training center and also as an employment contracting option for our clients. The Sophia Way will seek employment contracts with companies in King County where we will subsidize our clients' salaries for one month while they are acquiring additional training and work experience in the private sector, providing risk reduction to the employer while the employer provides a work environment that gives our clients tools to succeed.
As mentioned, we have a brand new shelter that has allowed us to expand our capacity to serve, but also it creates a need for more resources to operate at this higher capacity. We continue to seek out new funding sources that support our growth.
Another significant challenge we face is to build financial strength for our clients which is critical for their success. Given the current economic conditions the obstacles to building financial stability can be insurmountable. We believe the Sophia's Thrift Shoppe will be able to bridge this gap.
We always have a waiting list. The number of homeless women is increasing. We need the ability to offer additional space both at the shelter and at permanent housing levels. We have a strategy to address this need but we will require the financial support of community members - individuals, foundations, businesses, corporations and civic groups.