Monday, June 9, 2014

Forward we move

June 9, 2014

Moving through change
A Message from Lynn Engel, Board Chair
I would like to welcome Karina O'Malley as our new Interim Executive Director. She takes the helm of The Sophia Way as someone who has been an important part of this organization since day one. Karina is no stranger to anyone at The Sophia Way, she previously served in an Advisory Council Role, on the Board of Directors, and also as the Interim Executive Director last winter for 4 months. Karina is a powerful advocate for the homeless and is well respected by her fellow Board members and employees at The Sophia Way. We are thrilled she will be working in this capacity once again and look forward to The Sophia Way's future as we continue our mission of assisting women from homelessness to independence.

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we want to express our gratitude to Katherine Jordan and for all her efforts on behalf of the women we serve. We wish her luck in her future endeavors.

Thank you for your on-going support and commitment to The Sophia Way.

Lynn Engel
Board Chair

More than a place to sleep
Another record-breaking season of our emergency shelter
May 30 was the last day of this season of our longest-running Eastside Emergency Shelter (EES) for women and families with children. This was a record-breaking season in many ways. For the first time ever, we were able to extend the season until the end of May. This was two and half months longer than we were able to serve last year. We saw a marked increase in the number of women and children coming to our shelters. This year we served a total of 105 children as opposed to only 22 children in the last winter season. Extending the shelter this year until the end of May meant that these children had a stable place to stay at night almost through the end of this school year.

Volunteers having fun after setting up the room for our ladies and families.

In our 2013-2014 season, we have served 333 unique individuals with 5632 bed nights in just seven months. Of our seasonal total of 5,632 individual bed nights, 1,298 or 23% of our bed night were provided to children. Children made up 31.5% of our total demographic.
Mattresses stacked up ready to be used.

Our shelter is also unique because we are the only low-barrier, staffed shelter on the Eastside accepting women with children and intact families (with fathers). This allows families, already distressed by homelessness to remain together through the night, rather than experiencing the additional trauma of having to be split up, in order to secure a safe, warm place to sleep.

The success of EES can be attributed to the active collaboration between our staff, many donors, volunteers and community organizations. We couldn't have done this without the help from our community. Many funding agencies and faith organizations came forward with their support; volunteers helped set-up the rooms, brought meals, and helped clean up; Our staff coordinated the entire effort, made sure all women, families and children were welcome in the shelter, resolved all conflicts that came up, and provided valuable resources to everyone who needed it. Especially, in the last few weeks, our staff worked very hard to make sure all the families we served had another shelter to go to after we closed.

At The Sophia Way, one of our goals is to extend our emergency shelter year-round. The need is there. We are working hard to find the resources to make that happen. We are hopeful that with your help, we will be able to find a permanent place to always be able to welcome women and families who have nowhere else to go.
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 is supported by United Way of King County