The Whatcom County Health Department has continued coordination with Whatcom Homeless Service Center, the Lighthouse Mission and the Opportunity Council , to discuss the plan for those who are unsheltered during this cold weather. The Homeless Outreach Team, through the Opportunity Council, continues to check on people who are unsheltered. To those individuals that are interested they are made aware of the Lighthouse Mission’s shelter space. For those individuals who are opting to sleep outdoors, the Homeless Outreach Team has worked to make sure those people have supplies needed to stay as warm as possible. Check in at the Mission is at 6:30 pm for those who will be transported to Fountain Community Church. Those that aren’t able to make that check in time are welcome to stay at the Drop In Center, as there is still capacity.
Winter shelters are open and Additional beds have been activated
The City of Bellingham has activated an emergency winter shelter plan to ensure that no one requesting help is turned away. The Lighthouse Mission Ministries (LMM), Fountain Community Church, and the City of Bellingham have activated this emergency overflow plan to open additional capacity in both an overnight shelter and day shelter.
Fountain Community Church has opened additional overnight shelter space at their church, and the City of Bellingham has made a meeting room available in the downtown library for the women staying at the shelter. This additional day center space at the library is managed by LMM and creates more space in the LMM Drop-In Center during the day. The City will remain in close communication with LMM and Fountain Community Church as the storm progresses through the weekend to continually assess the need for these services.
The Drop-In Center on Holly Street remains open 24 hours per day and has capacity. Last night they served 160 guests but still had 30 beds open and available and did not have to activate another 30 beds at the Fountain Community Church. Usage is expect it to be similar tonight, but in an abundance of caution, Fountain Community Church will be activating those additional beds tonight, so we anticipate we will have a total of 60 open beds. The City will continue to have the library lecture room available during the day to women staying in the night shelter at Fountain Community Church.
LMM's trained staff and volunteers will continue to manage winter shelter operations, including check-in, through the Drop-In Center at 1013 W. Holly Street. For more information on the Lighthouse Mission Ministries overnight shelter and drop-in shelter, visit www.thelighthousemission.org/what-we-do/drop-in-center.