Too many families in Whatcom County need a place to call home. Our program works to eliminate homelessness by offering safety and stability to families and children first, and then a launching point for reaching goals that will sustain self-sufficiency.
Our housing program is unique. Living in Interfaith housing, the family unit can stay intact. In shelters, males age 12 and older are separated from females. This means fathers with daughters are separated, and moms with teenage sons must live apart, too. We offer the only short-term housing for all types of struggling families to live together, except for a limited number of motel vouchers.
When a family moves into one of our homes, not only do we provide shelter — either temporary or for a longer, transitional period — but we also provide intensive case management. Case management with each family addresses the issues that led to homelessness. The goal is to set the family on a path back to self-sufficiency and their own home. We have a proven record of success.
Models to success
Through experience and innovative ideas from our member congregations, we’ve learned that not all solutions to homelessness look the same. We have a number of different models for providing housing to homeless children and their families.
With congregations, we manage three partnership houses: Our Saviour’s and Disciples House in Bellingham, and Grace House in Blaine. We’ve also embarked on a partnership with the City of Ferndale, offering two additional transitional homes, Ferndale House, for families needing shelter in that city. Another model includes the eight Interfaith Homes under the ownership of Interfaith Coalition : a fourplex, a single-family home called Little House and a triplex called Our House in Ferndale.
In April of 2018 we opened Family Promise, another model in providing emergency housing to families experiencing homelessness. Family Promise offers overnight hospitality at our own local congregations on a rotating basis, working in partnership with other congregations. Guests are also provided meals and companionship. Based on a national model, a key part of this program is the Family Promise Day Center where guests are supported by a case manager to find permanent housing and jobs, set goals, do laundry, take showers, and be a safe place for kids too little for school.
Interfaith housing is the first step on a family’s path to starting over.