The name Sophia comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘wisdom’.
It is an entirely apt description of the essential vision that underpins the unique and pioneering work of Sophia Housing.
The organisation was founded in 1997 by Sr Jean Quinn and Eamonn Martin, to assist people experiencing homelessness.
From the outset, Sophia was distinguished by the fresh, distinctive and innovative thinking it brought to the issue.
In essence, it looked beyond the problem and focused firmly on the person, acutely aware that each individual would have differing needs and require differing supports to help them exit homelessness for good.
And it was this emphasis on the longer term, on eschewing the quick fix in favour of more permanent, sustainable solutions that also set Sophia apart.
Thus, while providing a home for someone is a vital first step, it is often just a first step.
What follows – and what Sophia excels at – is the extensive range of wrap around supports and services that are needed to ensure that move becomes long-term.
These key services include: Community integration, Housing Settlement and preparation for housing, Development programmes for tenants, Health and well-being, Child protection and welfare.
In short, people are at the centre of everything that Sophia does.
Unfortunately, as housing need has grown exponentially across the country over recent years, so the need for Sophia’s services has increased dramatically.
But the organisation has risen to the challenge. Between 2016 and 2018, Sophia saw a rise of almost 80% in the number of people supported. The following year, Sophia established a new service in Cork. The organisation also works in partnership with the Midland’s Simon Community.
Sophia’s dedicated centre in Dublin comprises some 50 separate accommodation units, meeting rooms, a nurturing centre, a crèche, and a restaurant
Sophia Housing has also secured critical support from Clann Credo to ensure completion of a new new emergency accommodation unit being developed in west Dublin, an initiative that has delivered significant social dividends in keeping with the organisation’s enduring and unique vision.