July 28, 2022

Hearing decision permits Lighthouse Mission’s campus remodel to serve homeless

The proposed remodel of the Lighthouse Mission Ministries campus in Bellingham’s Old Town, including a new facility to replace the building at 910 W. Holly St., received approval July 27 from the City of Bellingham’s hearing examiner.

The new facility, which will be on Lighthouse Mission-owned property on 910 W. Holly St., will replace the 24-hour Base Camp homeless service center on 1530 Cornwall Ave.  It will include micro-shelters for families, working guests, elderly guests, and guests requiring mental health care. These micro-shelters will increase the Lighthouse Mission’s total overnight shelter capacity by 100 people. The number of total beds available overnight will go from 200 beds to 300 beds, with additional overflow capacity of 100 during severe weather.

“While we’ve just started reviewing the decision and conditions required by the hearing examiner, it appears this will allow us to move forward with our plans,” said Loran Zenonian, Chief Advancement Officer of the Lighthouse Mission. “The new facility will enable us to better serve people who are homeless and help them turn around their lives.”

Zenonian said Lighthouse Mission also is working to mitigate concerns expressed by neighbors during the permit process. The new facility’s site plan has been carefully thought out to encourage safety and healthy engagement with the Old Town area, he said. Examples include but are not limited to; site plans using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design  (CPTED), best-practice lighting standards, hourly staff neighborhood walk-abouts and natural sight lines through the use of strategically placed windows.

There will be one entrance and one exit on the Astor Street side of the property and a separate entrance for families on the southwest side of the building. The facility will have video surveillance, be staffed 24/7, and staff will walk around the building regularly to check on things and pick up litter, Zenonian said.

The current building at 910 W. Holly St. will be demolished later this year. The new facility will be five stories tall with 15,000 square feet per floor. Completion of its construction is projected in 2024.

Zenonian added that the building will include meeting rooms for community agencies to come meet with guests and connect them to the services they need. Other improvements in the works include increased laundry capacity, an expanded kitchen, entrepreneurial suites and both daytime and nighttime spaces for guests.

“Expanding our kitchen and adding micro-shelters will allow us to continue providing meals for our most vulnerable friends and neighbors,” Zenonian said. “All of these improvements will aid in the care and recovery of our guests.”

The Lighthouse Mission is continually working to be a positive presence in the neighborhood. The new facility’s site plan has been carefully thought out to encourage safety and healthy engagement with the Old Town area. Examples include best-practice lighting standards and natural sight lines through the use of strategically placed windows.

Three entrepreneurial suites located on the first floor will host three small businesses. The businesses will be open to the public and will create employment opportunities for graduates from Lighthouse Mission’s recovery programs.

In the news:

Cascadia Daily News: City approves 300-bed shelter in Bellingham’s Old Town

Bellingham Herald: Ruling issued on controversial Lighthouse Mission expansion in Bellingham

Bellingham Herald: Lighthouse Mission Ministries: What to know as Bellingham homeless shelter plans expansion

Lighthouse Mission Ministries has been helping people who are homeless since 1923. It cares for up to 310 people each day and provides a continuum of services aimed at ending homelessness through street outreach, enhanced shelters, addiction recovery, spiritual support, and aftercare. To make a donation or volunteer, call (360) 733-5120, or visit www.thelighthousemission.org.


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OUR MISSION : Healing homelessness with Christ's power and love