Lighthouse Mission Ministries has completed its contract supporting Whatcom County’s COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Facility (IQF), and local nonprofit agency Road2Home is taking on the contract starting this month. Services will continue at the IQF.
The IQF facility is located on Byron Avenue in Bellingham. It’s designed for community members who are infected with or exposed to COVID and who need a place to safely isolate or quarantine. People often come to the IQF if they have a crowded living environment, live with vulnerable family members, or experience other conditions that make isolation and quarantine difficult.
The IQF facility has proved a successful community effort, with Whatcom County Health Department organizing the project, the Lighthouse Mission providing staffing, Sea Mar Community Health Centers providing management, and PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center coordinating referrals. From its opening in May 2020 through the end of September 2021, 454 total guests had stayed at the IQF facility, with 4,891 total bed nights.
The Lighthouse Mission signed on to provide temporary staffing support to the IQF during the initial outbreak of the pandemic, President & CEO Hans Erchinger-Davis said.
“The Mission was equipped to help with the IQF for a time due to the emergency need,” Erchinger-Davis said, “but we didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain the support long-term. Since the IQF is still necessary 1.5 years later, we are so glad that Road2Home can meet this need in the community!”
Sue Sullivan, Whatcom County Health Department manager overseeing the IQF, said that the strong community partnerships in Bellingham have been essential to a robust response to protect public health.
“We would like to take a moment to express gratitude to the Lighthouse Mission and Sea Mar for their hard work and dedication in operating the Isolation and Quarantine Facility (IQF),” Sullivan said. “Lighthouse Mission and Sea Mar have continued their support in the transition as Road2Home and Aristo Healthcare Services take over operations of the IQF. We thank them for all they have done to serve the residents of Whatcom County not only during the pandemic but in many other facets of the community as well.”
Road2Home is a local non-profit organization in Bellingham. According to Executive Director Ashley Buerger, Road2Home also provides volunteer training and allyship to individuals living unsheltered to help improve their lives and aid them in working towards recovery and stable housing.
“Road2Home is thrilled to provide some reprieve for the Lighthouse Mission and Sea Mar as they have carried this project through the most trying times,” Buerger said. “We will continue to serve our community members in need through this pandemic and hope to help guide them towards resources as they move on from the IQF in good health.”
Buerger said Road2Home is currently developing Bellingham’s newest tiny home community called Gardenview Village, in collaboration with the City of Bellingham and the Low Income Housing Institute.
“We are humbled by the community partnerships at work in Bellingham not only with Road2Home but among fellow agencies,” Buerger said. “We really couldn’t do the work we do without you.”