During Housing Week, an enthusiastic group of determined volunteers celebrated the work of dedicated leaders for their efforts to assist the homeless. With the combined purpose of supporting and encouraging housing affordability and livability in Bellingham, The Whatcom Housing Alliance, “Bellingham for Everyone” group has successfully garnered the assistance of a dozen organizations into a common goal. The Director of one of these programs, Carolyn Roy, and Family Promise Leadership Team Board Chair, Barbara Mathers-Schmidt, received the “Luminary Award for Innovation” through Interfaith Coalition’s “Family Promise and Family Housing” service.
Since April 2018, Whatcom County’s Family Promise program has served 30 families, including 105 people, through their safety net of 800 local volunteers, 31 houses of worship, thousands of meals and hundreds of beds. By utilizing existing buildings, often Sunday school classrooms to shelter the homeless, their overhead is minimal, and opportunities for success are great. An astonishing 89% of the families who utilize their services go on to stable housing. A nationwide organization in over 200 communities, Family Promise has proven to be a powerful way to provide meaningful help to those in need, having served 950,000 people.
Success of the program is due to a thoughtful and well-crafted comprehensive support system. With at least one of every 26 local children lacking regular housing, the challenge is major and the reward for creating stability for families is huge. More than simply offering a safe place to sleep, the group offers meals, transportation and support services for parents to find work.
The many volunteers provide fellowship and friendship to both the adults and the children, giving them a chance to get to know each other and make solid connections. While children play, grown-ups talk about skills, employment opportunities, health care and legal advice. The combination is vital for future success.
While supplying the basic needs of food and shelter, Family Promise goes beyond, as more than an act of charity or throwing money at the problem offering the recipients dignity and a positive future.
Donations are welcome to this non-profit local organization.
View the awards ceremony.