The Lighthouse Mission Ministries (LMM) Drop-In Center on Holly Street remains open 24 hours per day and has expanded capacity during this winter storm event. Last night they served 176 guests out of 210 available beds at both the Lighthouse Mission and Fountain Community Church. The City also continues to have a room in the Bellingham Public Library available during the day for women staying in the night shelter at Fountain Community Church.
LMM continues to ask that the public respect the privacy of their guests at the shelter. Anyone seeking services at the shelter is welcome. The only exception is if the person has a history of violence at the Lighthouse Mission.
The Opportunity Council and Lydia Place also continue to provide hotel vouchers, primarily for families in need. In addition, the City provided an additional $10,000 this winter specifically for emergency assistance motel vouchers.
Emergency declaration in Whatcom County, Washington state
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for Bellingham in effect until 4 a.m. Sunday. A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.
Both the State of Washington and Whatcom County have issued a proclamation of emergency for this current winter storm. These proclamations direct state and county agencies and departments to utilize resources to respond and recover from the winter storm.
The City of Bellingham Office of Emergency Management has been collaborating with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management staff this week to inventory our available resources and establish next steps in case an additional cold weather shelter is required. The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management has put three volunteer groups on standby: Community Emergency Response Team, Search and Rescue 4x4, and Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD).
COAD is a diverse group of more than 80 non-profit, faith-based and volunteer organizations, along with businesses, governmental, and public service organizations, a portion of which could be called upon for unmet sheltering needs. The COAD mission is to identify and organize resources to meet disaster related community needs. Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham work with COAD organizations to link unmet needs with community-based resources and services. The City of Bellingham Office of Emergency Management has requested the COAD lead coordinator conduct a survey of sheltering, warming, and drop-in center capabilities. These requests for volunteers and resources will be coordinated with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management. The American Red Cross has also been contacted and is ready to assist.
Should our existing shelters reach full capacity and there is continued demand for additional overnight beds during extreme cold, or should we experience an extended power outage with below freezing temperatures that may cause additional persons to be without adequate shelter, we may generate a request to set up additional shelter.
For more information
To receive emergency alerts through the City and County's AlertSense program, sign up here.
For a link to Puget Sound Energy's power outage map, visit here www.pse.com/outage/outage-map
For information on the City of Bellingham's 2019 winter actions to address homelessness, visit www.cob.org/services/housing/homeless/Pages/2019-winter-actions.aspx.
For information on homelessness and services in Whatcom County, visit the Whatcom Homeless Service Center at www.whatcomhsc.org/