The Sophia Way Logo

February 2016
Message from the ED

The number of people surviving outside in King County - 4,505 - is heartbreaking.

Homelessness has been declared an emergency in Seattle and King County and this is not a crisis that we can solve alone. It will take the combined efforts of community members, local partnerships, the state, and the federal government all working together.

In the early morning hours of January 29th, The One Night Count happened. Volunteers across King County counted those who were unsheltered - families with babies and school age children, people in wheelchairs, people sleeping on buses, senior citizens, and so many more. Some would leave their tents or cars in the morning to go to a classroom, or to a job. All are human, members of someone's family, and all are depending on us to do a better job at solving this crisis.

The Eastside numbers showed an increase of 80% this year compared to the Count in 2015. Most people appeared to be in cars. Overall in King County there was a 19% increase in unsheltered people for a total of 4,505. And we must understand this number greatly underrepresents the actual number that we will never know. But what this 4,505 does illustrate is a trend that homelessness is increasing.

Homelessness is solvable.

When you support The Sophia Way you become a part of the solution. You've helped us extend our Day Center hours this winter so that women have a safe, warm place to rest, get a meal, take a shower, do laundry and get access to vital human services resources on the Eastside. We have also added 50 more beds for single adult women at our second Emergency Winter Shelter site. With special emergency funding from the Cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah and Redmond and additional funding from King County, The Sophia Way in partnership with Catholic Community Services, is operating two emergency shelters for the 2015-2016 season with one for families, including single fathers, and the other one for women.

You are reading this because you care. We must as private citizens, service providers, government officials and staff and as a community do more. Now is the time to recommit to a vision and plan of making homelessness at the very minimum rare, brief, and if necessary only a one time occurrence.
Long Story Short

Betty got laid off from the hospital she worked at for years. Then her apartment rent skyrocketed by $300. Because both dramatic changes happened at the same time, she could not afford her home anymore. When Betty got her eviction notice, she had to leave behind everything and walked away with only a suitcase and backpack. What she misses the most is her own little library of 2,000 books.

Betty, now in our shelter is trying to get her nursing status in WA reinstated and license renewed. She says "The Sophia Way is a home away from home"

For Betty's story in her own words, click  here
Seattle to Kansas

Hiba came to our Day Center two weeks back. She is originally from Sudan. Her bag was stolen and she did not have any money to get around in our city. All she wanted was to get back to her sister ( who lived in Kansas City) and support her in her heart transplant surgery. Our Day Center staff connected with Tom Miles, outreach worker from Congregations for the Homeless, and got her a ticket to Kansas city. Hiba is now taking care of her sister. 
You give HOPE to women like Hiba. 
Celebration Time

Catholic Community Services of Western Washington  and The Sophia Way had an intimate thank you celebration for the Cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Issaquah for helping us open our second Emergency Winter Shelter. This event was held at the shelter which is hosted by Bellevue First Congregational Church. There were 25+ guests from various cities and service agencies who attended the gathering.
The community came together and provided an additional 50 beds for women to sleep in during the coldest months of the year!
Agent of Change 

Mackenzie is working towards her Bronze Award for Girl  Scouts along with her  Troop  45241 in their Journey Project.  With much effort in gathering staple items for the shelter, Mackenzie is practicing being "an agent of change" in her community. 
Choosing The Sophia Way to support came about when she noticed the many blue shelter tents along the I-90/I-5 corridor in Seattle, which then sparked the conversation about "homelessness" and the needs of being "without".   Being a  Girl  Scout, she wanted to "effect" change in the " girl /women" community first and thought that helping women in need such as supporting a women's shelter is
a good place to start.  
"A woman of the future helping women in need, today" -Mackenzie, GS  Troop  45241
Leadership Eastside

A group of five leaders from Leadership Eastside chose to do their project at The Sophia Way. They met many stakeholders of our agency, participated at our Board Meetings, contributed ideas and have made a positive impact on the work we do. 

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. - 
In This Issue
Save the Date!

We are moving to a new office space in March. You are welcome to our Open Office Event on Friday,April 8th
from 5 - 7 p.m. 

Look out for our invitation!
THANKS TO YOU, our women have a Home away from Home. 

Thank you Microsoft for donating 3 state of the art desktops and
1 printer!

Thanks to our Board Member, Kim Stohler for hosting a fundraising event and shopping essential kitchen supplies. 

Thank you Jerry and Gary Residential Services for donating the much needed dish washer

Thank you Haggen Store for coming up with 21 beautiful gift baskets for 
Valentine's Day

Our Board Member Michelle Andrews helping at
The Day Center

Thank you BitTitan for donating these lovely gift baskets to our Day Center clients

Our Staff member Emily representing us at Community Discovery Day at the Redmond Library.
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