Save the Date - GiveBIG is May 10th 2017 

Message from our Executive Director 

Housing First-a cultural shift
This last week I had the opportunity to attend a workshop offered by All Home of King County about best practices for emergency shelters.   The focus of the workshop was Housing First, a philosophy and approach that prioritizes providing housing to people experiencing homelessness. In other words, housing first means everyone is housing ready no matter what-even if they have a severe substance abuse problem, are unemployed, or refuse to participate in program services.  Housing first does not require one to address their problems including behavioral health problems or graduate through a series of services programs before they can access housing. This approach views housing as the foundation for life improvement and gives access to housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter. After all, did anyone give you a test to see if you were housing ready?  We all understand that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live, but they also need these before they can attend to anything less critical such as  employment, education, or addressing substance abuse. There continues to be a growing evidence base that that Housing First is an effective solution to homelessness as the research shows the majority of people remain stably housed a year after receiving housing, and most have participated in optional supportive services resulting in greater housing stability.
While The Sophia Way is housing focused, there is room for growth as we transition into becoming more housing first. I look forward to sharing updates with you over the next few months as we evaluate our own programs through the lens of a housing first approach.

- Angela Murray, Executive Director 

International Women's Day at the shelter!  

International Women's Day isn't just about giving a flower to a woman you appreciate and telling her she's great. This day, March 8, is a symbol of the struggles that women around the world have undergone to gain equality and rights and a reminder of how far there is still to go.  As women we should take care of each other all the time. Serving and helping people is the most precious thing in the world. 
Therefore, as Turkish Women Charity and Aid Organization (Turkcha), we wanted to visit, provide some food and bring some presents to the ladies who came to the Sophia Way's day shelter on International Women's Day. We just wanted to make them happy and surprise them. When we saw their eyes that time we understood our purpose was achieved.  A lady told us that she felt very special today and added she felt that today was like Christmas. It was nice to see the ladies happy and this was a great Women's Day present for us.  All people would like to feel that they are cared about by others, and feel some attention. Everybody is busy with their own lives. Sometimes,  it is easy to forget to give our attention and love to each other and others. We believe as human being we didn't come to the world to live only for ourselves. Women have infinite capacity; most of the time we aren't aware of how big our capacity is. Women should use their infinite capacities for others' welfare. If we all  can do that we'll discover the real life. Whatever we look for, don't look for it here or there. Look for it within ourselves. "Here" and "There" are both within.  Rumi, who lived in Anatolia in the 13th century, said that "Woman is a ray of God. She is not that earthly beloved: she is creative, not created." We are so grateful to The Sophia Way for giving us this opportunity.  

Write up provided by Dilek Anderson from Turkcha. 
VISA Project
On the afternoon of Thursday, March 16th, 22 volunteers from the Visa Bellevue office came to our shelter to do several projects. The group broke down into smaller teams and went to work organizing our donation storage room, toiletries closet, kitchen and pantry, sorted a large donation that had just come in that day, deep cleaned the common room and sleeping rooms, and decorated our walls with decals, making the space look even more beautiful and inviting! In addition, they donated hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning supplies, snacks, and other essentials, and packed over 100 emergency kits to give out to those in need. The volunteers had a great time and made a huge impact, and we are so grateful for their time and generosity!

We are also extremely grateful to Seattle Works, a local company that connects volunteers to causes that need them, for making this project happen. Having an extra person to do almost all of theproject coordination, order the supplies, help with the day-of set-up, and take all the amazing pictures was hugely helpful and made this project so much more fulfilling and meaningful for everyone involved. We hope to work with you all again some day!

"I realized if we get together we can do wonders." - A Visa Volunteer
Partnership with Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop 
Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop, an all-volunteer run shop in Kirkland, honors The Sophia Way client vouchers.  The women come into the shop and receive 10 items of clothing, 2 pair of shoes, and a coat.  They can go around and pick out items in their size and can try everything on to make sure it fits and they are happy with their choices. 
In 2016, ECA served 80 clients for a donated value totaling $5,889. 45 in merchandise. That was an average of $73 per client. We are happy to help these women. Some are getting clothes to wear for their job interview. Volunteers feel good about helping the clients find clothes and other needed items. They feel that is one way they can help make a difference in a person's life.
You never know where life's path is going to take you, so we must be there to help each other.  We are happy to be a partner in this wonderful program.

Eastside Community Aid Thrift can always use clean, resalable donations. For more information, please visit

Write up provided by Jody Orbits from Eastside Community Aid Thrift Store 
Building a community at the shelter 

There has been a pretty big shift client wise in our 21 bed overnight shelter program. Since many of our clients got into their own home, we have a lot of new clients at the shelter. The new Night Shelter clients are bringing in a lot of positive and encouraging energy

A staff member started a new group for our Night Shelter clients called Tea & Treats - a monthly group where everybody tries different teas and snacks. We are hoping to incorporate all different kinds of teas from all around the country and around the world. 
The tea we enjoyed last month was a green jasmine flowering tea and snacked on some fresh fruit with homemade maple yogurt dip. One of the ladies living in the shelter supplied the yogurt dip recipe we used! T he goal of this initiative is to create a sense of community within our clients. 

In addition toTea & Treats events, we want to incorporate some poetry into an activity as April is National Poetry Month. We would love to be able to share some inspiring poetry with our clients and also love for them to be able to express themselves through poetry as well. We have some very talented writers in our community right now. In fact, one of our shelter client regularly shares share her writings with us. We would love to be able to further encourage her creativity and the creativity of others. 

Community Champions 

Thank you Eastside Friends and Family for choosing The Sophia Way as your beneficiary for the fun fundraiser! Holi - The Festival of Colors was celebrated on Sunday, March 19th at Lake Sammamish State Park. 

Thank you Redmond Chorale for putting together Concierto Coral - Choral Music of Latin America at Meadowbrook Church in Redmond. It was a night filled with fun, music and a generous community. Maya, our Board Member gave a presentation on our work. 

Thank you Bellevue Police Department for distributing these care packages to people experiencing homelessness.