A WEEKLY PROFILE OF A LOCAL NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Sojourner Hall for Women Inc., better known as Sojourner House, “provides transitional housing and intensive counseling to low-income women, including women with children, who desire to develop stable, independent and productive lifestyles.”
The planning for the house began 15 years ago by a group of women who wanted to address the needs of low-income women and children. Today, Sojourner seeks to serve a population that includes the 36 percent of children in Rochester who live in poverty; a total of 250 women and children are served on an annual basis. It houses up to 25 women and children at one time, with most residents staying for three to six months. Women clients range in age from 16 to 70–and children from newborn on up–and may be referred to Sojourner through a number of sources or come on their own.
Sojourner House builds its services around three fundamental components: shelter for women and families, structure to live independently and strength to improve lives.
The house provides women and children with shelter so they may cope with any number of personal problems or needs: drug and alcohol abuse; mental-health problems; chronic homelessness; physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; and others.
The program structure of Sojourner House is provided by an on-site staff that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to facilitate a cooperative living environment. It includes counseling, support and recovery groups; programs focused on independent- living skills; parenting classes; children’s programs; and more.
The strength provided by Sojourner House is realized by moving clients toward stability, and increasing emotional and economic independence. After moving to permanent housing, former residents and their families are offered ongoing support through counseling, holiday events and volunteer opportunities. Sojourner itself receives support from numerous area businesses and organizations, most notably Chase Manhattan Bank N.A., Fleet Bank and the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley.
Through this three-tiered approach, Sojourner has seen more than 85 percent of its residents move to permanent housing, and more than 70 percent meet or exceed goals set upon entering the residence.
The services of Sojourner House are overseen by new Executive Director Germaine Knapp, who leads a staff of 17.
Financial Record Year ended May 31, 1998
Monroe County Department of Social Services &
other rental income $407,500 60.05
Department of Housing and Urban Development grant
Cash contributions 104,700 15.44
United Way of Greater Rochester Inc. (donor option)
Interest income 400 0.06
Total revenue $678,565 100
Personnel & related expenses $475,800 70.12
Food, groceries & household items 40,540 5.97
Mortgage–debt service 30,000 4.42
Utilities & phone 29,200 4.30
Insurance (business) 21,000 3.10
Repairs & maintenance 18,000 2.65
Program expenses 18,000 2.65
Capital reserve payments 16,865 2.49
Office supplies & postage 12,000 1.77
Other 17,160 2.53
Total expenses $678,565 100
Nancy Watson Dean, honorary chairperson; community activist
Virginia Cornyn, first vice president; director of community relations, Xerox Corp.
Edward Gilbert, second vice president; vice president of human resources, West Group
William Colby, treasurer; partner, Harter, Secrest & Emery
Carolyn Taylor, secretary; retired, Monroe County DSS
Nancy Briggs, community activist
William Carreo, deputy director, Monroe County DSS
Winsome Carter, financial consultant, Merrill Lynch & Co.
Edmund Case, retired trust officer, Marine Midland Bank
Sharon Conheady, neighborhood representative, office of the deputy mayor, Rochester
Kenneth Conte, senior vice president, KeyBank N.A.
Mary Fisher, attorney, Boylan, Brown, Code, Fowler, Vigdor & Wilson LLP
Patricia Hale, community activist
Halford Johnson Jr., the Johnson Organization Ltd.
James Memmott, senior editor, sports, Democrat and Chronicle
Carrol Newcomb, community activist
Nancy Roberson M.D., ob/gyn, private practice
Joann Roberts, vice president and trust officer, Marine Midland
Florence Rugless, owner, Rugless Beauty Salon
Researched and written by Julie K. Welch