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The Sophia Way 

Description

The Sophia Way (TSW) provides the Eastside’s only program exclusively dedicated to helping end homelessness for adult women in King County by offering a path from homelessness to stable independent living. TSW’s core programs facilitate this transition by providing a safe place for women during the day, offering a six-month intensive shelter program for twenty one women at night, offering case management to help clients overcome barriers to independence, and providing transitional and non-time limited housing opportunities for women who experience chronic homelessness.
 
We serve women who are widowed, divorced, suffering from mental or physical issues, women who have children and seek reunification, women whose children are 18, which results in them not meeting the criteria for families, are all part of our clientele.

Mission Statement
The mission of The Sophia Way is to help end homelessness for adult women in King County by providing shelter, life skills training, social services and supportive permanent housing, offering a path from homelessness to stable independent living.
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The Sophia Way
700 108th Ave NE Ste 201 
Bellevue 
WA
98004 
(425) 463-6285 

Angela Murray 
Executive Director 

Programs

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 women experiencing homelessness. 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. We services can be categorized under three broad programs:

Care NOW
At the Day Center we provide a safe, warm environment where women eat prepared meals, do laundry, take showers, use computers and phones, and benefit from resource referrals, rotating service providers, and life skills classes.

Shelter TONIGHT
Sophia’s Place Shelter Program assists up to 21 women at a time for approximately 6 month each. These women meet weekly with a case manager and receive life skills training and help accessing needed resources. Residents benefit from having the Day Center operations onsite. Volunteers provide hot meals and supplies for the shelter, including hand sewn quilts that are gifted to the women when they leave. Sophia’s Place Shelter and Day Center are hosted by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.

In collaboration with Catholic Community Services and local churches, our Eastside Emergency Winter Shelter provides immediate, temporary shelter for women and families experiencing homelessness and for five to six months a year. Women and children are accepted at any hour of the night, and to preserve families, fathers are also welcome.

Housing TOMORROW
The Sophia Way helps women move from temporary shelter to transitional & permanent housing as quickly as possible, with subsidies made possible by King County and King County Housing Authority. We provide case management support to all the women in our housing program to help them continue making progress on their pathway to stable independent housing.

We operate a community residence, Holly House, which provides transitional housing for six women at a time for approximately one year each. Holly House is hosted by East Shore Unitarian Church.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

One of our biggest recent successes were in providing housing for women experiencing homelessness. In 2014, 23 women succeeded in moving to stable housing from Sophia’s Place Shelter Program. This is a huge success considering the shortage of affordable housing options and multiple barriers that they face. More recently, in March 2015, six women from our Sophia's Place Shelter Program moved to Independent housing.
 
As evidenced by the 2015 One Night Count, the need for services for women experiencing homelessness is still strong. In April 2014, we took over the operations of the Day Center from YWCA. We served 370 unique people, including children, at the Day center between April and December 2014. We need financial support to keep the shelter and Say Center programs going. For example, it costs about $1000/month for water for showers and laundry at the Day Center and Sophia's Place Shelter.

Evaluation


The Sophia Way provides overnight shelter, support services and subsidized housing to homeless single adult women in East King County.

Proven Success
October 2012 was the ribbon cutting ceremony for their new space at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue. This space will be open 24 hours a day and doubles the number of women we serve. This space features a large dining/meeting room and separate sleeping quarters providing 20 women with individual space to store their personal items. In addition, the YWCA continues to co-locate the Angeline's Eastside Women's Center on weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with Sophia’s Place in the new St. Luke’s location.

Best Practices
To ensure that the women they helped secure housing were able to maintain their housing, they created Sophia’s Thrift Shoppe. This is a job training & employment incubator for homeless women transitioning into the workforce. Once women are trained and certified through Sophia's Thrift Shoppe, they are matched with employers on a contract-to-hire basis fully subsidized by The Sophia Way. They believe employment is the final step to self-sufficiency thereby closing the loop on our client's journey to becoming self-sustaining, contributing members of our community.

Collaboration
In 2012, they created a group of community businesses and business leaders who have come together to help The Sophia Way create and build assets for long term strategic planning. They believe that organizationally, they can only grow to the extent that they have the community actively engaged in their long-term planning. This group will be integral in the development and outreach of The Sophia Way mission and vision.

Financial Health
They are growing and changing their fundraising capacities. They have increased their focus on grant writing, marketing and fundraising. They have added an additional fundraiser and maintained their events as 100% sponsored. By creating the Community Business Council, we will be able to better leverage our existing resources by engaging the council to absorb many cost through in-kind support. They anticipate additional revenue as a result of the launching of Sophia's Thrift Shoppe.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
3/10/2013 $10,000.00provide general operating support.
3/10/2011 $5,000.00support general operating expenses of The Sophia Way.
9/10/2009 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.

Financials

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