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Peoples Bank Grant Benefits Skagit Habitat for Humanity

June 27, 2017

By May O'Mahoney | Northwest Weekly

Earlier this month, Peoples Bank, Bellingham, Wash., awarded Skagit Habitat for Humanity a grant for $25,000 through the $1.6 billion bank’s Impact Grant program.

Habitat for Humanity of Skagit, Wash.Earlier this month, Peoples Bank, Bellingham, Wash., awarded Skagit Habitat for Humanity a grant for $25,000 through the $1.6 billion bank’s Impact Grant program.

Established in January of this year, the Peoples Bank Impact Grant was developed to support local and regional nonprofits improving communities where the bank’s employees and customers live and work. Designed to fund specific projects, the funds awarded Skagit Habitat for Humanity will go towards purchasing a new utility van to aid in the construction of new homes as well as volunteer and administrative needs for the nonprofit.

Out of the 50 applicants, Skagit Habitat for Humanity was chosen because the bank recognized the nonprofit’s proposal that would have a far-ranging and lasting impact on delivering critical housing services community.

“As a community bank, we have many customers who are working hard to get into their first home,” said Michelle Barrett, executive vice president and director of retail banking and human resources. “With rising housing costs and a growing homeless problem across our region, we felt this grant would address an urgent need in the community. Skagit Habitat for Humanity is at the forefront of helping families access affordable housing, and we were so impressed by their mission and the important work they do for people in the community.”

Washington State saw homelessness grow 7.3 percent in 2016, the second largest increase in homelessness in the country. There are now nearly 21,000 people in Washington State that are homeless according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

While the focus of attention has been predominantly on Seattle, Skagit Habitat for Humanity provides much-needed support to smaller communities such as Skagit County, which has the seventh-highest homeless population in the state, according to the Washington State Homeless Count. Of those that are homeless, almost half are children under 18, and about one in ten are senior citizens, which makes supporting nonprofits such as Skagit Habitat for Humanity all the more critical.

“Peoples Bank’s gift will keep on giving through the continued use of the van we will purchase with this grant,” said Kimberly Bell, resource development coordinator. “Having the van will allow more efficient use of time and resources that can be put back into our programs to serve more families in Skagit County. Affordable housing is at the forefront of conversation in our community, and this gift is a part of the solution. Skagit Habitat Homeowners partner with us, working alongside the many volunteers on site to build a strong and stable home, which in turn builds a strong and stable community. The homes they build help create lasting change in the development of Skagit County, and this is all possible because of support from this Impact Grant from Peoples Bank.”

“Over the years Peoples Bank has provided Skagit Habitat for Humanity with regular funding through local branches through Community Reinvestment,” Bell said. “With Peoples Bank’s continued support, more families will realize the dream of homeownership.”