Lighthouse Mission Ministries is a place of hope, its executive director said while standing in the lobby of one of its four buildings on F and West Holly Streets.
It’s not a warehouse for homeless men, women and children.
“There’s real tangible change happening,” Hans Erchinger-Davis said, while standing in front of a blackboard in one of its buildings.
Written on the board are hard-earned victories: “30 days sober,” “housing!!,” and “employment” among them.
The Lighthouse Mission provides shelter to about 230 people each night, and serves 350 meals each day.
The goal is to have people move through its services – from emergency shelter, to recovery and transitional housing, then out into the community – while getting help with the underlying issues at the heart of their homelessness and helping themselves along the way.
So they’re “not just a victim that needs charity to survive,” Erchinger-Davis said, “but a citizen who has something to offer, a contributor.”
On Thursday, Lighthouse Mission opened its doors to the community for the annual tour of its facilities.
It has been serving the homeless of Whatcom County since 1923 and is working with the City of Bellingham to open a permanent easy-access shelter for up to 200 people.