In an ideal world, all of us would have some savings or a safety net to fall back on, in times of crisis. However, it is not the case for most of the women we serve. A full-time minimum-wage job does not come close to meeting the cost-of-living in our area. Savings are a luxury many cannot afford. We journey with women who are living dangerously close to the edge. We know that most of our clients are one paycheck or a medical emergency away from losing their home.
That is exactly why our ability to quickly and creatively meet our clients' needs is so critical. In this newsletter, I want to share the story of Carrie with you. She had a crisis that could have resulted in homelessness. We were able to intervene, just in time, in her case. This is what we do best. This is what your support enables us to do, providing shelter for the women in need and helping them get back on their feet. This is what we will continue to do until the day the existence of organizations like The Sophia Way becomes unnecessary.
Karina O'Malley Interim Executive Director
Timely intervention, avoiding homelessness
Being flexible in meeting our clients where they are
What do you do, when you suddenly find out that your monthly income is dropping to zero or close to zero, for the next couple of months? That is exactly the situation Carrie found herself in. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) found out that they had overpaid Carrie, their plan to fix that was to cut two lump-sums from her paychecks in the next two months. That meant, Carrie would have no paycheck for the month of July and very little for August. That was a scary situation for her. This was not something she was prepared for.
Carrie had come to The Sophia Way more than two years back. She started in our shelters and then moved to an independent apartment through a subsidized housing program. Last month, she approached us, very worried about her recent situation. Our case manager helped her connect with the SSA. The goal was to change her deductions to a smaller monthly amount, spread over about a year, instead of two large amounts in two months. While they were open to the idea, SSA initially mentioned that the process may need more time. But they did turn around quickly and we are happy to say that Carrie received her check yesterday! That means, she will be able to keep her housing and won't default on her other loans and payments. This is a huge relief to Carrie.
Have you looked at our 2013 Annual Report? Make sure to check out what your dollars have achieved last year.
It was a year of change for The Sophia Way. It was also a year that proved our resiliency and our focus on the services that we provide. Through all the changes at The Sophia Way, one thing was constant: our commitment to quality and reliable service to women in need.
Our 2013 numbers are impressive. We served 76 women at our night shelter, Sophia's Place. We brought 142 unduplicated individuals in out of the cold at our Emergency Shelter, including 22 children. We also supported 53 women in our housing program.
Thank you for your on-going support and all that you have made possible. If we maintain our focus on the work and build on your continued partnership, we know the road to end homelessness for women on the Eastside will not be too long.
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.
The Sophia Way is supported by United Way of King County