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Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness: Peoples Bank Partners with Lighthouse Mission

April 5, 2018

By Cassandra Darwin | WhatcomTalk

Bellingham’s Lighthouse Mission began 95 years ago as a safe haven for fishermen and loggers who had fallen on hard times. Today the mission provides shelter for about 250 people daily. Its goal: to break the cycle of homelessness. To this end, it offer three meals every day, a safe place to sleep, employment and legal assistance, one-on-one support and a long-term addiction recovery program.

Chad Nickish (Peoples Bank) and Hans Erchinger-Davis (Lighthouse Mission)

Lighthouse Mission is fully funded by individual contributions and support from local businesses and churches. Chad Nickisch, Barkley Branch Manager of Peoples Bank, took a special interest in supporting the mission after hearing about one of his children’s classmates experiencing homelessness. “Homelessness is a big problem in our community compounded, ironically, by minimum wage increases in the near future, along with a decrease in affordable housing,” Nickisch says.

Many people working at minimum wage jobs count on low income aid, like SNAP Food Benefits and Medicaid. For some, the recently approved wage increase may revoke their eligibility for these types of aid without covering the costs of benefits.

“Lighthouse Mission is using every square inch of space to meet the needs of our community,” Nickisch says.

The Mission’s 24-hour Drop-In Center is open for anyone experiencing homelessness and is there to support people when they are ready to seek change. In addition to providing meals and shelter, the facility offers access to health care, including an eye clinic which is run in partnership with the Bellingham Central Lions Club. “It’s hard to get a job if you can’t see,” says Hans Erchinger-Davis, Executive Director of Lighthouse Mission Ministries. “We are dedicated to helping motivate change and offering hope for a better future.” Read more...