Sophia was founded on the simple yet radical idea that when a person is homeless what they really need is a home, and with that home, the wrap-around supports needed to help emerge from homelessness.
This model, of providing a home with supports is now mainstream public policy (Housing First) and is central to the Irish Government’s response to the homeless crisis.
Over the past two decades, Sophia has been tailoring this support model to respond to the many different
needs of people experiencing homelessness in Ireland, one size does not fit all, and a person-centred approach needs a person-centred response. Our focus is to help people recover from the trauma and stigma of homelessness, reducing not only social exclusion and poverty but also the health and social issues associated with living through the traumatic experiences of being without a home.
Homelessness is not normal, being traumatised by that experience is a rational reaction to being without a home. Sophia believes that a person needs to be given the space and time to process this, work through it, and recover. Recognising this, and how such trauma can be triggered in many different ways informs and shapes how Sophia’s teams support people across the country.
Housing With Support.
Sophia's primary service is providing Supported Housing. We do this in a number of projects across the state. These projects offer a range of support levels from low to high.
Sophia provides outreach support in Dublin. This support service works with families, couples and individuals in emergency accommodation to help them move to long term permanent homes.
Sophia provides supported tenancy sustainment services in County Cork and Clare. Tenancy support services are a key early intervention to help people maintain their home reducing their risk of becoming homeless.
The Wisdom Centre in Cork Street is not just a place of calm reflection but it is also a resource for the local community, individuals and organisations that are looking for something that is more than a meeting space. The Wisdom Centre provides low cost, welcoming spaces that not only benefits those who use the space but also goes towards funding the work of Sophia.
Cork St Cafe
Sophia’s Project in Cork St has an on-site cafe, which provides meals for residents, staff and visitors who use the Wisdom Centre. The Cafe also provides training for staff on Community Employment.
Ger and his brothers were supported by Sophia 17 years ago, when he was just 13 years old. He spoke on RTE Radio 1 about what it was like growing up and being supported by Sr Ann Thomas and Sophia.
His story is a remarkable one that puts into words the Sophia model of support better than we ever could.