03 Jul New outreach program
This summer The Sophia Way is embarking on a new journey in providing street outreach.
What exactly does it mean?
In the simplest terms, it means that I will be going to places where those who are experiencing homelessness are known to congregate, and offer and or connect them with services. The exciting part is that I can meet some needs right in the moment with the very generous donations that have been made to our Rosco Fund. For example, just this week I have been able to provide gas cards to women who work but spend all of their quite modest income on fuel to get to their respective jobs. I recently received a call from a woman who lives in her car which was impounded and was able to get her car out of impound and also provide her with gas and safe parking sites for her and her small dog.
Another woman (with a family) that I am working just needs to get back East to be with family so that they will no longer be homeless. Three adults and a large dog have been living in their car for almost three months. In conjunction with another outreach worker we will be providing a plane ticket for the elderly mother and gas cards for the other family members for the drive to Ohio.
I also have the ability to stave off an eviction, within financial reason and to pay move-in costs for those women who have secured housing. This endeavor is truly an extension of our mission and the vision of The Sophia Way (TSW).
Of course this work would not be possible without forging solid community partnerships. The last month has been filled with making community connections and working with two Eastside outreach veterans to learn the ropes. Every agency that I have visited with so far has been extremely excited to have TSW doing this work. I have already had a couple of direct referrals from baristas at the downtown Bellevue Safeway, Bellevue Librarians and the Program Manager at the Issaquah Food Bank.
My connections thus far:
- Eastside High Utilizers Group consisting of representatives from (DESC, APS, ED Social Workers from both Swedish, Overlake and Evergreen Hospitals), Bellevue Fire CARES program representatives, Sound Mental Health and Therapeutic Health Services providers), and Social Workers from Fairfax Hospital
- Librarians at Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah Libraries
- Issaquah Food Bank
- Issaquah Nourishing Network
- Kirkland and Issaquah Community Resources Officers – both have offered to take me around their communities and show me where folks might be congregating
- The Community Resource Coordinator for the Passage Point Program with the YMCA
- Issaquah Community Services who also has some limited emergency funding for community members
- Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition
- Kirkland Senior Center
- Friends of Youth
- Community Dinners in Bothell, Bellevue and Issaquah
- City Council Members in Issaquah
- Eastside Legal Assistance Program
- Security at both Factoria and Crossroads malls
Places I plan to visit:
- New Bethlehem Project
- Care Day event in Bothell (TSW will be hosting table)
- Bellevue Police, Crossroads substation
- North Bend (Library and food bank)
- Bellevue and Kirkland food banks
- Two new safe parking locations (Newport Presbyterian Church in Bellevue and Our Savior Lutheran Church in Issaquah)
- Lake Washington United Methodist Church Safe Parking
- Overlake Christian Church Safe Parking in Redmond
I view this summer’s work as an effort in building relationships, both personal and in the community, expanding The Sophia Way’s mission reach and, more importantly, to provide a little hope and dignity for those women who may not experience much of this in their daily walk without a support system and/or place to call home.
— Cynthia Brown, Emergency Winter Shelter Manager and Outreach Specialist