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The Sophia Way 

Description

The Sophia Way is the only shelter and housing program for single adult homeless women King County’s East Side. “Single adult homeless” is a term that is inclusive of all homeless women who do not have the current housing responsibility of minor children or live with partners. This means that adult women of all ages are welcome. We have served women ages 18 to 79. The average age of our clients is 51. 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. Our shelter is open from 7 pm to 8 am – 7 days a week. We provide case management, counseling, social services, life skills, companion program, aid with financial coaching, and education and employment services.

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 

Katherine Jordan 
Assistant 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 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 will generate 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 private sleeping cubicles with lockers, raised beds, laundry amenities, conference rooms / meeting space.
 
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.
 
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.

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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