Safe Haven

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Safe Haven 2019-02-24T19:24:45+00:00

Safe Haven, a temporary safe camping site for the homeless community in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Safe Haven will be a drug and alcohol-free community. Safe Haven is intended to provide a safe and stable place for homeless individuals to live while they actively seek permanent housing.

Safe Haven residents will likely consist of people who are either working or disabled and who have a source of income. Safe Haven residents will also be selected based on their ability to succeed in a community living setting. HomesNOW supports the Housing First model to house homeless people immediately.

The goal is for each person to have a sense of home and community.

HomesNOW intends to build and manage the Safe Haven tent encampment in accordance with Ordinance No. 2018-10-019, Bellingham Municipal Code, permit requirements, Washington State laws and regulations, and Whatcom County Health Department regulations. The project duration will be for 90 days (from approximately April 2019 through July 2019) with a possible 30-day extension.

Managing Agency

Homes NOW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization made entirely of volunteers working together to offer affordable housing options for the homeless in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Homes NOW supports the Housing First model to house homeless people immediately. The goal is for each person to have a sense of home and community. Homes NOW previously worked with Lummi Nation to build two tiny homes in June and July 2017, which temporarily housed 8 people transitioning to permanent housing. On average, occupancy is 2 to 3 months before moving into permanent housing.

In 2017, Homes NOW assisted 25 people into housing by eliminating barriers. Homes NOW provided: telephone access, avenues for reconnecting family members, assistance with rental applications for those having difficulty reading and/or writing, direction for people entering detox programs, and the stability of an organized permitted camp site. Homes NOW is 100% funded by donations. Our goal is to have a commitment from sponsors for the full cost of the project prior to initiating use of the site. Homes NOW is not requesting any taxpayer funds from the City of Bellingham.

Starting in January 2019, HomesNOW began managing Winter Haven, Bellingham’s first temporary tent encampment located behind City Hall at 210 Lottie Street. Winter Haven will last for 90-days, ending on April 2, 2019. Winter Haven consists of 19 tents with an average of about 23 residents.

HomesNOW has also worked with the Opportunity Council to place a family with children into more appropriate housing. Thus far, Winter Haven has been successful at helping people find stability and connecting them to needed services.

Read the full detailed WinterHaven Proposal

Read the Safe Haven Handbook (rules)