The Sophia Way | An Alarming Trend That You Can Help Change
Ending homelessness for women
homeless women, homeless, homelessness, shelter, safety, stability, shelter, women's shelter, Bellevue, homeless in King County
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An Alarming Trend That You Can Help Change

The changing human impact of homelessness is becoming increasingly evident on a daily basis at The Sophia Way.  In fact, what we are seeing in the depth of need is a growing phenomenon and one that we are stretching to meet.

The women we are serving at our emergency shelter today versus just five months ago shows an alarming trend. In April 2018, 32% of our clients demonstrated profound mental illness. As of today, that percentage has more than doubled to 68%!

Other disturbing trends we are seeing paint an even clearer picture of the breakdown of our social and community support systems.

  • 26% are over the age of 55 – more than half of these women are over 61
  • 50% are women of color – a disproportionate reflection of our population
  • 69% report a disability, many of whom are unemployable due to their condition
  • 50+% have no income
  • We are at 92% of capacity just as we enter the coldest months of the year
  • The vast majority of our clients are dealing not with just job loss or rental increase barriers, but multiple complex barriers as a result of living unhoused for many years

What This Data Tells Us

  • The number of women with severe mental health problems is rapidly growing. We are also seeing more women trying to cope by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.
  • Our population is aging with increasing levels of disability. These disabilities limit or eliminate their ability to work. This is also increasing the number of women who have extremely low or zero income.
  • Women of color experiencing homelessness continues to rise disproportionately. This is no accident as it is the result of decades of systemic discrimination in housing and mortgaging lending institutions.
  • More women who start with fewer barriers are unable to pull out of homelessness and become a part of the chronic homeless population.
  • Less women will be able to exit homelessness without supportive housing

What does this look like every day at The Sophia Way

  • An increased focus on immediate survival and crisis intervention.
  • Our Staff are having fewer conversations with clients about housing pathways due to the level of trauma of those we are serving.
  • We are seeing an increase in a return to homelessness after women are housed.
  • We see more shelter swapping than in previous years where women move from one shelter program to another and are unable to make gains toward housing.

How The Sophia Way is responding and How You Can Help

The Sophia Way has learned to grow and adapt to the changing needs of those we serve. Here are some of things we are doing to address this crisis.

  • We are breaking ground on a new shelter that will offer our women 24/7 access to safety and professional support 365 days a year. (Click here to help)
  • We are hiring a full time mental health therapist.
  • We are increasing the level of expertise on staff.
  • We are creating the infrastructure for our own training program focused on trauma informed care, motivational interviewing and harm reduction.

Please help us with a gift that will save lives and allow us to make the dramatic organizational changes so urgently needed for the women we serve!

Than you,

Linda Benson

Director of Community Development