Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lena's long road to housing

March 19, 2015
In this edition

Lena's long road to housing
And new dreams, after years of homelessness
Meet our case management consultant
Karen Staley brings her decades of experience
An unexpected gift from a sister agency 
Imagine Housing employees select The Sophia Way
Not one hundred, not one thousand, but 18000!
That's the number of meals you donated in 2014
Lena's long road to housing
Persistence and hard-work finally paid-off for Lena
Lena first contacted The Sophia Way through our Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS). After a short stay at the winter shelter during the colder months, she left the EWS for a spot at Sophia's Place, our 21-bed shelter located at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Bellevue.
Holly House
Holly House, our community home for 6 women, is made possible by East Shore Unitarian Church who provided the space in their former parsonage

She made great use of the resources offered by Sophia's Place, including laundry facilities, computers, phones, showers, and more. She was a great help at the Day Center, pitching in with chores and cleaning whenever possible. She was a conscientious community member and a great person to have around! She invested herself in her own success and developed a long term plan for addressing one of the major obstacles in her way when it came to finding an apartment: rental history. Without one, it was unlikely that she would find a property manager willing to rent to her.

It's part of The Sophia Way's mission to provide every woman the opportunity to live independently and move into permanent housing, and in keeping with that, Lena was offered a spot at our Holly House -- a 6-bed community housing program. We are thankful to East Shore Unitarian Church for providing the space for Holly House in their former parsonage. This has increased our capacity to serve more women and enabled us to add the community housing program. Lena lived at Holly House for two years in order to build up a rental history while she looked for permanent housing options. Due to her mental health challenges, she required more help than other women in our program. Her case manager helped her through each stage of the process in applying for housing.
Earlier this month, Lena was able to obtain housing that met her income requirements while also being in a recently constructed building with plenty of storage space and onsite housing management. Just last week, Lena moved from Holly House to her own apartment. When she left Holly House, she had a rental history and new skills to aid her at her own housing. She prepared her first meal in four years last weekend and was very excited to let her case manager know! She will continue to meet her case manager at The Sophia Way for some more time to make sure this transition is a permanent success.

Despite many challenges and the difficulties that come with experiencing homelessness, Lena proved to be a great community member and a great advocate for her own independence. We wish her success.
Meet our Case Management Consultant: Karen Staley
Karen brings her decades of experience and care to The Sophia Way
I am honored to join The Sophia Way as a Case Management Consultant. I am providing interim case management to newer shelter guests as the amazingly capable and dedicated team of The Sophia Way take the time required to find the right person to add as case manager.

For more than a decade, beginning with volunteer work at a rape crisis line and work in domestic violence shelters, and then continuing to work with homeless adults in shelter, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing as an advocate and case manager, I have been moved by the resilience, resourcefulness and determination of the women whose struggle and achievements I have witnessed. The work of advocating for and empowering women experiencing homelessness is deeply meaningful for me.

I am all the more moved and impressed, then, to find in The Sophia Way, a breadth of service, a depth of commitment, and a connection and integration with the community that is both rare and powerful. It is my hope that my experience will allow me to provide some additional connections to resources and partnerships in the areas of supportive and affordable housing and to offer some tools to strengthen and enhance the flow of services across agency programs from initial contact to day center through shelter and transition to independent, affordable, sustainable housing.

Karen Staley
Case Management Consultant

Not one hundred, not one thousand, but 18,000!
That's the number of meals you donated in 2014

At the beginning of every year, when we do our accounting for the previous year, your donations never cease to amaze us. This is especially true for all the meal donations that we get. 365 days a year, you provide healthy hot meals for our overnight shelter residents. You provide meals for the Eastside Emergency Winter Shelter when it's in operation. You provide lunches for our Day center residents 5 days a week, when it's open. And all those add up to an incredible 18,000 meals in 2014. Thank you!

If you are interested in donating a meal, check our meal donations website, find a date on the calendar there, and signup! If you have any questions, please email Delilah VanCourt at and she will get you all the information you might need.
An unexpected gift from a sister agency
Imagine Housing employees select The Sophia Way

Our Interim Executive Director, Rae Levine, accepting the check from Gary Helling, Interim Executive Director of Imagine Housing.

We are humbled by wonderful support from a sister agency - Imagine Housing. They had an opportunity to grant funds to a nonprofit as part of their Velocity housing project. As part of that process, Imagine Housing staff voted for The Sophia Way to receive this gift of more than $20,000 as a sign of their 'deep appreciation' for our work! We are deeply grateful.

Velocity is a brand new affordable apartment community, located at the South Kirkland Park and Ride, for low-income individuals and households. Some of the women from our program have moved into Velocity and they love it!

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 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Announcing The Sophia Way's new Executive Director


On behalf of the Board and Staff at The Sophia Way, I am very happy to announce that we have hired Angela Murray as our new Executive Director.
After a thorough search, Angela rose to the top with her experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, board development and volunteer engagement. Angela brings not only the experience, but the energy and enthusiasm, necessary to continue to advance the mission of The Sophia Way.

Angela comes to The Sophia Way after serving as the executive director of the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, where she was recognized for her success facilitating board, staff and community partners working together in a strategic initiative to collaboratively solve community challenges through volunteerism, donor engagement and partnership with key stakeholders. She was also recognized with the 2014 Community Achievement Award for her efforts in the local community.

With our new leader, we are eager to move forward, serving women experiencing homelessness in our community and strengthening the partnerships with our local providers, funders, and the many individuals and groups who actively support our programs. Angela will start in her role on April 14. Rae Levine, Interim Executive Director, will be working closely with the staff, board and Angela to ensure a smooth transition.
Please join me in welcoming Angela to our Eastside community. More details to follow on a welcoming meet-and-greet with Angela.
Finally I want to thank Rae Levine for her leadership as Interim Executive Director. She has been invaluable in assisting us through this time period and putting us in a strong position to move forward with our mission.
Thank you for your ongoing support of and collaboration with The Sophia Way.
Lynn Engel, Board Chair