Salvation Army assistance programs in Whatcom County.

Serving as a charity that may be turned to in a last resort, the Bellingham Salvation Army works to help the marginalized in the community. The Christian based charity will try to assist people regardless of their age, race, or religion. While a number of services are available, most are offered in the form of case management as well as referrals. They will also only assist for a limited period of time, such as families can't continue to apply for holiday help year in and year out.

One key resources from the Family Service Center is to help people get back on track with their lives. Then, they will try to ensure the client sustains that progress. So some of the services revolve around employment and financial literacy. Only in rare cases will families from Whatcom County be able to receive financial aid.

A full, comprehensive assessment will be done by the social workers. Salvation Army staff will determine the needs of the client. Then, referrals are available. These may be to Salvation Amy services from the Bellingham office or other agencies in Whatcom County Washington.

Job finding and placement is available from local job centers. Or clients can use the computer on site to search for a position. Other aspects of this are as follows.

  • Transportation can be arranged for an interview, if the client has a valid chance at the job. This may be gasoline vouchers or a ride from a volunteer.
  • Receive information on day care programs for children, including summer day camps or vouchers to help pay for the cost.
  • Educational support in Whatcom County includes GED Classes, ESOL for immigrants and Adult Literacy Lessons.

The Bellingham Salvation Army will advocate on behalf of those that are struggling. Very low income families can get information on how to apply for government assistance or grants. Social workers will offer referrals and suggestions on how to apply for Social Security Disability, cash aid from TANF, Medicaid, and more. The process can often be complicated, so having someone walk through the process can be invaluable.

Homeless Intervention and Prevention includes a number of different housing programs. When funding allows, there may be financial aid, but this is not common. Some of the aspects of this Salvation Army of Bellingham services are as follows.




-Emergency shelters can be accessed for a night or two, including during the hot summer or cold winter months.
-Clients who graduate from this will be placed into transitional housing, though there will be some small monthly rent due.
-Salvation Army case managers can sometimes assist formerly homeless individuals and families in securing permanent housing.

Support is generally for people that are facing a one time crisis but have historically been stable. Examples of who the Salvation Army tends to help will be residents faced with a serious illness, accident, short term reduction in hours, medical condition at work, or violence. In general, any help for expenses such as rent or energy bills is for individuals that were self-sufficient before the crisis.

Food pantries, holiday meals, and maybe even gift certificates may be used as form of hunger prevention. Fresh food (such as fruits or vegetables), perishable items and canned goods may be offered. Around the holidays, such as Christmas, the Salvation Army will work with local churches and groups to serve a meal to those that are struggling.

Other seasonal programs from Salvation Army in Whatcom County will be a back to school program for students as well as Christmas gifts for children. These are held during the fall months, and individuals can ask for the Angel Tree. There will be registration period in place as well.

Anyone going through the programs above will need to agree to sustainment. This is a form of case management. It will be used to break a cycle of poverty. Staff will address spiritual, medical, psychological, and mental needs. This form of supportive services is critical to achieving long term stability.

There is often a waiting list in the Whatcom County office, which is at 2912 Northwest Ave. Also, appointments are needed. Call (360) 733-1410



By Jon McNamara

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