The Sophia Way | Coronavirus Updates
Ending homelessness for women
homeless women, homeless, homelessness, shelter, safety, stability, shelter, women's shelter, Bellevue, homeless in King County
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Coronavirus Updates

How You Can Help

Your support, at this time, is crucial to women experiencing homelessness who are seeking services at our shelters.

Contact: info@sophiaway.org | 425.463.6285 (leave a message)

Media Queries: Alisa Chatinsky, Executive Director

Our Updates

April 26, 2020: Together, We Are Stronger.

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to share with you a touching note from a guest at our shelter.

“I am eternally grateful for these optimal health precautions and a chance at rest and relaxation. It has been extremely positive and stabilizing, giving me deep healing opportunities for my mind, body, and soul.”

In these difficult times, the resilience and the positive attitude of the women is all the more reason for celebration. Every day they face adversity with strength and determination. And it is you, our community, who give them the much-needed hope and courage, and the resources to remain healthy and strong.

Thank you for giving them a safe and secure haven during this unforeseen and widespread health crisis.

With gratitude,

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

Because of You…

More than a hundred women are safe and sheltered.
Social distancing is possible to maintain health.
Nutritious, warm, and satisfying meals have been provided by local restaurants.
Lives are improving with time to reflect and plan for the future.

“I want to say a big ‘Thank you!’ to The Sophia Way and to their donors for their kindness and support. Having my own room at the Red Lion has given me the space and privacy to focus and concentrate on finding housing and stability!” — Ashley, 42 years

The Continuing Need

For more than a month, The Sophia Way has provided shelter and resources 24/7, served well over a hundred women every day, increased the number of staff to provide proper support, sourced meals from local restaurants, and continued to offer case management and emotional support at an additional cost of more than $20,000 each week.

To continue to provide all these services at these levels, we still need to raise more than $200K above and beyond our budgeted revenue. Your continued support will ensure that the women experiencing homelessness on the Eastside are cared for and protected.

Your Support Makes a BIG Difference

  • $12 ensures that each woman has access to personal hygiene products for a week
  • $35 provides for laundry services for five women each week
  • $120 protects the women, and frontline staff, with additional cleaning supplies
  • $250 provides breakfast to nourish more than a hundred women
  • $700 funds the additional hours to run 24/7 through this health crisis

Four easy ways to maximize the impact of your gift!

  1. Request that your employer match your donation – many employers are offering additional support during the crisis.
  2. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides individuals with a $300 “above-the-line deduction” for donations to charitable organizations available regardless of if the taxpayer itemizes their deductions. Read more for information about the Act.
  3. Make your GiveBIG pledge. All gifts up to $16,500 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, thanks to generous donors.
  4. Consider a making a monthly recurring contribution. It’s simple!

Schedule Your GiveBIG Gift Now!

Make a Recurring Gift

Donate Shelter Needs

April 16, 2020: Separated by Distance. Yet, With Her For Her.

Dear Friends,

We have much to be grateful for. The sun is shining in our community and social distancing seems to be working. We celebrate that news, and we celebrate YOU!

In the last 45 days, when our world turned upside down and we faced a reality that none of us had ever experienced, you are the reason we have been able to continue supporting women, whose trauma of being homeless has been exacerbated by the health crisis.

A month ago, we began offering services 24/7. Last week, we were able to move our shelters to a small part of Red Lion Hotel Bellevue. This allowed for proper social distancing for the women, as well as our staff. It takes a village to support the women, and you are part of that village – individuals, groups, foundations, who have given financially and in-kind. You are helping us better protect and care for as many as 120 highly vulnerable women. We celebrate your kindness and generosity!

But there is still a long way to go. It is taking additional resources to meet the needs of women. Every day that we are open 24 hours, is costing an additional $6,580.

You can show your support through Early Giving with GiveBIG. Your donation will give women the care and comfort they need. Please consider investing in the well being of women in our community. You will give them hope and the resources to change their lives.

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

THANK YOU TO A CARING COMMUNITY! Watch the video

SOPHIA VOICES

“The staff are helpful and caring. To have good food and a shower every day is the best!” ~ Belinda, 45 years
“It’s a scary time to be living now, but I am grateful to be here. The Sophia Way community takes care of each other. The food from the different restaurants is really good.” ~ Maria, 52 years

March 26, 2020: CARES Act – Receive Federal Tax Credit With Your Gift to The Sophia Way

Like many of you, we are concerned about the predicted spike in cases due to COVID-19 in the coming weeks. We are working hard to flatten the curve, protect our clients and staff, and following the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for volunteers, meal donors, and non-essential staff.

Today we have learned that Congressional and Administration negotiators reached agreement on the Phase 3 COVID-19 economic stimulus bill early Wednesday morning and that the Senate and House hope to pass the $2 trillion legislation in the coming days.

There is a lot in the CARES Act but we want to highlight how it impacts charitable giving.

CARES ACT Charitable Giving Incentive: Includes an above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemizer deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to contributions made in 2020 and would be claimed on tax forms next year.

The bill also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent.

For corporations, the bill raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap.

Your support at any level will help The Sophia Way continue to provide shelter and meals 24/7 during this crisis.

Thank you for giving and supporting women at our shelters.

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

How You Can Help

I/We Want to Support the Emergency Fund

I/We Want to Donate Your Shelter Needs

March 25, 2020: Our Response to “Stay Home” Order

We recognize that the recent directive to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” is a strong effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in our community.

As the days goes by, we are faced with increasing challenges. The shelter is out of gloves, masks, disinfectant, and we are spending an additional $20,000 a week in expenses, to meet the demands of the impact of the virus. Please read this article that was published today in ProPublica, in which we have shared not only the challenges but the risks we are taking to provide a safe haven for women experiencing homelessness.

You have been with us in many ways, but we must ask you to dig deeper and help us in this very challenging time. The lives of the women we serve depend on your support.

You, along with your whole community, are in our thoughts and we hope that you are taking care during this crisis. Amidst all the stress and uncertainty, it has never been more critical to stay connected with one another – even as we observe “stay home” to keep each other healthy and safe.

Because the health crisis is rapidly changing, sometimes within hours, we will continue to inform you regularly of key changes and needs. Below you will find our most recent updates.

With wishes for you and your family’s good health,

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

Important Updates

In keeping with the State’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, our office is closed to the public and our staff is working remotely. If you need to contact the office, leave a message at 425.463.6285 or send us an email.

Donations (ONLY from our shelter needs list) may be delivered to the Day Center at at 3032 Bellevue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. Between 10 AM and 6 PM.

Volunteers are not permitted at the Day Center or Shelters because of the order.

Since, March 17, we have been providing support and services 24/7. Our Emergency Shelter is now co-located with the Day Center and Extended-Stay Shelter at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.

We are taking daily health assessments of clients and staff, while being rigorous about handwashing and cleaning of the shelters. Currently we have no confirmed cases of infection.

All meetings and events scheduled in April will now be hosted virtually. Look for updates about these opportunities to join with us.

How You Can Help

I/We Want to Support the Emergency Fund

I/We Want to Donate Your Shelter Needs

March 21, 2020: Our Response to the Health Crisis

This is a difficult time for all of us and we hope you are taking care of yourself, physically and mentally.

In this unprecedented health crisis, what keeps us going is the compassion and the willingness of our community to help, along with the dedication of our staff who are working harder than ever to care for the women.

We want to reiterate that the wellbeing, health, and safety of The Sophia Way community is our top priority. We are carefully monitoring the situation and following guidance from the Washington Department of Health, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and the CDC.

More than 75 percent of the women in our shelters fall into a high-risk category for the virus. Currently, we have no confirmed cases. As the situation continues to evolve, we are actively taking steps and doing everything we can to ensure our clients, staff, and volunteers are cared for and protected.

Our approach

  • Handwashing: All staff, clients, volunteers, and other visitors must wash their hands thoroughly when they enter the shelter
  • Cleaning: Increase in frequency of cleaning of the day center and shelters
  • Health check: Daily health assessment and a temperature check of all clients, staff, and volunteers
  • Interactions: Phone, conference, or video calls in lieu of in-person meetings and permitting work from home in alignment with organization needs
  • Updates: Regular sharing of information as it becomes available with our staff and clients; reviewing and updating response protocols as necessary

Our response to symptoms

If a client presents with any symptoms of the virus (coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, temperature), we will:

  • provide as much isolation and care as possible (areas have been identified at each shelter)
  • call the COVID-19 King County call center for guidance and instructions
  • thoroughly clean and disinfect the shelter

If a member of our staff, or a volunteer, present with symptoms, they will be asked to return home and contact their physician or the King County call center.

You Can Help

YOUR support means that women have access to shelter and nourishment. We are grateful and honored by your commitment.

Meals
It is vital to nourish our clients at this time. Your donation of meals will help them stay healthy and strong. Signup for meals in April.

We have made arrangements for donors to leave meals at the door of the shelters for those not wishing to enter the buildings.

If preparing a meal is not an option, donations to help purchase meals are appreciated. $1,000 covers all the meals for a day. (Click for more options).

In-kind donations

We have a shortage of many critically needed items, especially cleaning supplies, gloves, and hand sanitizers. Here is a full list of needed items. While we are aware that there is a county-wide shortage of many of these items, if you find them online or at a store, please consider donating them.

Drop-off ( 10 AM – 6 PM)
3032 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
(Behind St. Luke’s Lutheran Church)

Emergency Fund

Your donation to the Emergency Fund will help women during these uncertain times.
The Sophia Way is providing 24/7 services during this crisis, covering a 5.5 hour time period when women would utilize public spaces, like libraries, that are now closed.
The financial impact for The Sophia Way to be open an additional 5.5 hours is approximately $700 a day.

We would love to hear from you on what else you can do to support the women in this unprecedented health crisis. Send us an email with your thoughts.

With wishes for good health,

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

P.S. Take care and keep safe – please follow the guidelines from the County and State.

March 17, 2020: We Are Expanding Our Hours of Service

This is a difficult time for all of us, but especially hard for those living without a home.

As life changes by the hour, we want to keep you updated on what The Sophia Way is doing to serve the women who reach out to us each day, while at the same time protecting our cherished and dedicated employees.

We have made the decision to offer our support and services 24/7. This is possible through adjusting the hours of our Day Center and shelters. As you are aware, we do not offer services from 3 to 8 pm, and with places like libraries, coffee shops, and community centers currently closed, we feel that this expanded service is critical to ensure the safety and wellness of clients.

To make this possible, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church has graciously allowed us to move the Emergency Shelter and co-locate with the Day Center and Extended-Stay Shelter. This enables The Sophia Way to provide the necessary staff AND have the ability to provide improved social distancing as directed.

Because our shelter staff, like many, have felt the impact of school and business closures, The Sophia Way is supporting staff by providing a bonus for use towards childcare, food, rent, and other basic needs during this crisis. We cannot meet the needs of the women without our dedicated staff.

The financial impact for The Sophia Way to be open an additional 5.5 hours is approximately $700 a day. Women trust us to provide the support they need and it is vital for their safety and health to remain open all hours. We are confident that you will once again give to help women in our community.

Your donation to the Emergency Fund will help women during these uncertain times.

On behalf of the nearly 100 women we serve each day, THANK YOU for your ongoing support and compassion.

Warm regards,

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

P.S. We are very grateful to you, our community, who have supported our emergency request for meals. We are in awe of your commitment to ensure for the safety and health of our women.

P.S.S. An extra big THANK YOU to Temple B’nai Torah for graciously hosting our emergency shelter over the last two and half months. We appreciate their support and look forward to partnering again.

March 15, 2020: TSW Meals Fund Needs Your Support

As the news continues to unfold, we are just beginning to understand the far-reaching effects of this crisis and The Sophia Way (TSW) continues closely monitoring the situation. We are going to rely on each other more than ever in the coming weeks, and we need your help to weather this storm.

Your support is key to helping provide all the resources needed for women experiencing homelessness on a daily basis as they continue to seek our services. At this time, TSW needs meals and we are asking for your support of our newly created Meals Fund for Women.

Each day, we serve almost 200 meals across our locations. There are two ways that you can help:
1. Make a donation to cover the cost of purchasing a meal when volunteers are unable to provide meals:

  • $250 serves breakfast, every day, to about 80 women at the Day Center and Emergency Shelter
  • $250 provides lunch, every day, to 40 women at the Day Center
  • $500 means a warm dinner, every night, to about 60 women at the Emergency Shelter, as well as Sophia’s Place
  • $1,000 provides all the meals that The Sophia Way provides each day

2. Sign-up to deliver a meal

  • If you choose to enter our shelters and interact with the women, we strongly encourage you to follow the recommended public health guidelines for handwashing and other protocols.
  • If you choose to avoid entering our shelters, you may leave the meal near the door so that our staff is able to bring it in quickly and easily.

Tip! It’s a great opportunity, in this time of limited social interaction, to be engaged and busy – and it’s a great way to support women experiencing homelessness in our community.

We continue to do everything possible to keep clients, staff, and volunteers safe and healthy. We are in regular communication with King County staff and are following the guidelines provided by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health recommendations.

Please consider making a donation of any amount – you’ll not only provide nourishment, you’ll be giving women experiencing homelessness a safe place and the care they need during this health crisis.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director

P.S. We encourage you to look out for each other and help as you are able, while maintaining your health and well-being . Be aware, be safe, and remember that we are all in this together. The Sophia Way is proud to be a part of this supportive and caring community.

March 10, 2020: COVID-19 Update

The Sophia Way values the health and safety of our community, including the women we serve, our volunteers, supporters, and staff. We are taking the necessary precautions, closely monitoring the developing situation, and sharing information on the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 on a daily basis. The recommendations from the Public Health – Seattle & King County, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being observed.

Under the guidance of our board of directors and the leadership team, we have implemented a comprehensive response plan grounded in our mission and values. We are working to ensure that women experiencing homelessness have their essential needs met, while their health and safety, and that of our volunteers, partners, and staff remain our highest priority.

At the shelters we

  • encourage frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer
  • have clients sleep head to toe
  • closely monitor clients who exhibit flu-like symptoms, provide masks, and connect them to healthcare resources
  • follow King County’s sanitation and hygiene guidelines for homeless service providers

Meal Donors

We are deeply grateful to those who play a critical role in nourishing our clients during this crisis. Arrangements have been made for donors to leave meals at the door of the shelters for those not wishing to enter the buildings.

Volunteers

Our volunteers are the heart of our work, and we are profoundly thankful for their continued support. We are encouraging volunteers to “self-select” their support based on what is best for them within the public health guidelines.

Events

In an abundance of caution and recommendations from King County, we have postponed all events in March. We have scheduled some in April with the hopes that public gatherings will be safe, while remaining flexible based on the situation.

We will keep you updated as new information becomes available.

In this time of uncertainty and anxiety, we are strengthened by you and your support for the women we serve. Thank you for everything you do.

With gratitude,

Alisa Chatinsky
Executive Director