Winter Youth Shelter Proposal
We have an exciting opportunity to consider as a congregation. Recently, leaders from Northwest Youth Services let us know that the City of Bellingham was interested in funding a Winter Youth Shelter. After some initial conversations with NWYS staff and congregational leaders, we invited the city to tour our building to see if our facility was feasible for such a project. The unfinished basement space opposite The Ground Floor (under the pulpit side of the sanctuary) will work to host this project for the three months that it might operate. The Trustees voted to move forward with the conversation.
The vision is this: The City of Bellingham will fund the project, Northwest Youth Services will staff and run the project, and First Congregational will host the project. The shelter will host up to 35 young people for 12 hours each night, from December 1, 2019 until February 29, 2020. The Ground Floor will be available to welcome youth, get them checked in, and supply showers, restrooms, and other program needs. A portion of unfinished side of the basement would be used just for sleeping — we would partition off everything north of Fresh Start, and that to the E Street wall of the building would be space for cots. The program would always be staffed by at least two awake NWYS staff members, and there would be opportunities for volunteers to get involved.
On Sunday, November 10, there will be a congregational meeting after worship with time for more discussion and a vote on the proposal. For an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) click here.