Bellingham, WA (July 17, 2018) – To address the ongoing issue of homelessness in Whatcom County, WECU has partnered with Lydia Place to provide a single-family home in Bellingham.
Lydia Place has traditionally provided housing only to single mothers in communal living situations. Single fathers, two parent families and women with more than three children often have a difficult time finding housing. These family types can stay homeless for longer periods of time as a result.
“In Bellingham, emergency housing is almost exclusively provided in communal living environments- and it’s in short supply. There are shelters in Bellingham that don’t accept single dads or two parent households due to the nature of communal living,” Lydia Place Housing Program Supervisor, Ashley Thomasson said. “In emergency shelters and each family usually only gets one room, which can be a tight fit for a mom with more than three children.”
When WECU decided it no longer needed to use a house, located on Chestnut Street in Bellingham, for office space in 2014- they decided to use it for good in the community.
“We didn’t really know how it was going to be used, but we wanted to make sure it was helping people,” said Reid Frederick, Program Manager Community Impact at WECU. “We reached out to Lydia Place and offered the house. Lydia Place saw it as an opportunity to serve these families they didn’t have a place for and they jumped on it.”
“Being a single-family home, it allowed us to open it up to these other types of families,” Thomasson said.
WECU provides the single-family home, charges no rent, pays for all utilities, provides major appliance upkeep, and exterior and interior maintenance. Since 2014, the house has served 8 families and more than 27 people.
“We want it to be a nice place for these people who are going through a tough time. The goal is to allow them to not worry about housing but instead, be able to focus on getting the other things in their lives back on track,” Frederick said.
About Whatcom Education Credit Union
WECU is a full-service consumer and commercial financial partner that operates 11 branch locations and two loan centers for business and home needs. WECU is proud to serve more than 125,000 members and has nearly $1.6 billion in assets. More information on WECU Charitable Giving programs can be found at wecu.com.
Keith Mader, Program Manager PR & Content at WECU, 360-756-7694, [email protected]