The first Tuesday of every month is when Aldersgate provides meals for Sophia Way, the only shelter for homeless single women on the Eastside. Seven years ago in December a group representing the faith community met to address this problem.
We started with a small room with mats on the floor that accommodated 12 women. The faith community provided the meals and Bellevue Congregational provided the room. We have since instituted a program of working towards independent living for the women. In that time period, over 200 women have gone on to independent living either in housing subsidized by Sophia Way or in our group home, Holly House, where the women garden and support each other. Our shelter expanded 2 years ago to a permanent facility provided by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church where 25 women have a real bed and personal locker in a private cubicle.
The faith community is still providing the meals and many volunteer services as well as much of the funding. Aldersgate has been instrumental in this support from the very beginning through individual contributions, Outreach/ Missions Committee and United Methodist Women Donations. We also receive funds from various cities on the Eastside as well as United Way and individual corporate donations. These funds are used mostly for client services to prepare the women to leave homelessness and provide them to succeed in independent living.
For more detailed information, please contact Jean Harris who is Aldersgate representative to the Sophia Way support network. The Sophia Way web site is http://www.sophiaway.org/index.html .