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Peoples Bank and Lydia Place Work to Address Homelessness in Whatcom County

June 7, 2018

Homelessness is one of the biggest issues facing Whatcom County. According to the Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness 2017 Annual Report, at least 742 people experienced homelessness last year and there were 520 homeless households. With rising home values, the population is likely to grow. To combat a problem, you need to start at its core. This is exactly what Lydia Place and its partners, like Peoples Bank, aim to do.

It can be challenging for non-profit organizations to get the same types of funding and exposure that bigger for-profit companies acquire. This is why it’s so beneficial when companies like Peoples Bank help with financial advice, exposure and sponsorship for fundraising events.

Derek Thornton, Peoples Bank Senior Vice President and Director of Finance and Accounting, says it makes sense to use the Bank’s diverse skillsets to help non-profits succeed. “In general people want to do what’s right,” Thornton says. “Not just what’s right for our community, but for the purpose of doing good. That’s why we help out in whatever way we can. When we see a need, we try to meet that need.”

Derek Thornton and Emily O’Connor

Derek Thornton and Emily O'Connor stand in front of the Lydia Place office at the Gladstone House property.

Recently, Thornton helped Lydia Place make an important financial decision to expand one of its buildings. He’s practicing what he preaches: seeing a need and meeting it. And helping Lydia Place goes beyond his work with Peoples Bank. Thornton is also the treasurer on Lydia Place’s Board of Directors. “Homelessness is a huge issue,” Thornton says. “We’re not immune to it by any means in Bellingham. Around 23 percent of homeless individuals in Bellingham are children, which is why places like Lydia Place are so essential in helping the community.” Read more...

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