Raising the Roof with the Gladstone Renovation


Spring is here and Lydia Place is raising the roof, literally! For nearly three-decades, we have been committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness for families and their children while expanding to meet the needs the community, without increasing the physical footprint of our organization. To continue to support homeless families in Whatcom County, this desperately needed renovation on our Gladstone Office location will include adding on a second story and remodeling the ground floor.

“In the past five years we have added over ten staff, increased housing placements by 30%, and added a parenting program and counseling services,” Lydia Place Director Emily O’Connor said. “However, through this significant growth, our physical operation space has remained the same. Staff have been tripled up in single offices, and we have relocated some staff to an offsite location.”


This necessary expansion project involving our program office required a nearly two-year capital campaign, Strengthening Families, Building Futures, that included the leadership and support of both Bellingham Bay Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Bellingham, who contributed $50,000 and $100,000 respectively to the project. Further, both clubs committed representatives to Lydia Place to support the building and material acquisition process. Construction is expected to last upwards of six-months, with RAM Construction and RMC Architects guiding the way, and a celebration and  ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Fall 2017.

Although construction has started, our campaign is not over yet. The Strengthening Families, Building Futures Campaign is nearing its goal, and our agency directors hope to close out the final round by the late Spring. Our Development and Outreach Director Shultzie Willows passionately believes that the last stretch of funding will be achieved soon.


“We have been very fortunate to receive the support of some incredible local community members, our Board of Directors, local rotary clubs, First Federal Foundation, RAM Construction and Norcliffe Foundation,” Willows said. “We are hopeful we can connect the last few dots and raise the final $75,000 needed to complete this project. We have no doubt that the community, and our partners will support us in this goal.”

To learn about the Strengthening Families, Building Futures Campaign, make a gift of support, or learn about the programs and services of Lydia Place contact, Shultzie Willows at 360-671-7663 ext 2001, email info@lydiaplace.org or visit lydiaplace.org today. Be sure to follow our Instagram account, @lydiaplace to see construction updates!



Handbags for Housing is June 2nd!

Bring your friends, family, colleagues and besties to the Lydia Place ladies’ (and men’s) night out, Handbags For Housing. This not-to-miss event includes the celebrated “handbag bazaar,” eclectic fashion show featuring over ten local stores and boutiques, live handbag auction, and a fun-filled raffle. Wine and cocktail samplings, paired with mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres round out this exciting and unique event – raising essential support for housing and services benefiting homeless families in our community.

Watch the Video

Tickets & Sponsorship Info

To learn more about tickets and sponsorship information, please click the link below!

Fortunes & Facials

Fortunes & Facials

You’re invited to a celebration of moms, mother-figures, and the people who love them while raising money to house the homeless.

Treat yourself to a glowing complexion with a Rodan + Fields Macro Exfoliator facial, gain insight from an illuminating one-card tarot reading, delight your palette with a delicious cocktail and snacks, relive the evening with a photo from the photo booth, and take home a swag bag featuring well-curated local goodies.

Share the glow: All proceeds from Rodan + Fields product sales will be donated to Lydia Place.

Tickets are $20 (plus and include a skincare consultation, facial, tarot reading, drink ticket, snacks, photo booth, and swag bag.

Space is limited to the first 50 people so get your tickets now!
Please note this event is 21+


Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)


Shakedown – 1212 North State Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

Additional Info

For tickets & additional information, please click the link below.

Ciao Thyme Benefit Dinner

Ciao Thyme Dinner

Thank you for joining us for the Ciao Thyme Lydia Place Over the Rainbow Dinner!

This special evening includes an incredible 5-course meal, beer and wine, live music from Peadar MacMahon and fun filled delights; raising awarness and funds for the Lydia Place Strengthening Families campaign.

You have the luck of the Irish with this limited seat dinner party!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)


Ciao Thyme – 207 Unity Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

Additional Information

For tickets and additional information, please click the link below.

End Of Year Newsletter


Jackie was twenty-one, living on the streets, and addicted to heroin when she found out that she was pregnant. Homeless from the time she was thirteen, she had been in and out of treatment centers and powerless against her addiction. e pregnancy created an in-road to reconciliation with her estranged mother, and with her support, and the motivation of the getting clean for her unborn child, Jackie once again sought treatment. Baby Brayden was born in January of 2013. Jackie was given strict rules and requirements from CPS, and her mother, on how to care for the new baby and maintain her sobriety. But the pull of the streets, and the dark, familiar addiction began to slowly take hold. “I started using again when Brayden was four months old, and my mom kicked me out. I le him there because I knew where I was going, and I was not going to take him there with me.” Brayden stayed with Jackie’s mother, and she went back to the streets, and back to her familiar habits.

When Brayden was a year old, Jackie found out she was pregnant again, and again she reached out for help. Knowing it was the only chance for the baby, she called a local program for pregnant mothers every single day until a bed opened up. Jackie began a six-month inpatient treatment program for pregnant and parenting mothers and Brayden went into foster care. While in treatment, Jackie gave birth to a baby girl, Kaydence, who was also placed in the foster care system. Jackie knew that she would have to make a lasting change if she was to ever see her children again. She took on her sobriety, enrolling in and attending all available classes at her treatment center. Determined to put her life together and get her children back, she also participated in services through agencies like Opportunity Council. “While I was in treatment there were classes and case management; things that could help me move forward in my life. It wasn’t that I just wanted to look good for CPS, I needed the help. I needed to learn how to live a normal life and move forward.”

Jackie moved to Lydia Place’s transitional housing program in the Fall of 2014 with her then eight-month-old daughter, Kaydence. She found stability there, giving CPS the condence to reunite her with then eighteen-month-old Brayden. eir reconciliation was bittersweet, tempered by Brayden’s attachment to his foster parents and the time he had spent separated from his mother. “It was hard at rst because Brayden was really quiet and the only experience I’d had with Brayden, other than as a baby, was when his foster parents brought him to visit me at the treatment center. e rst night he was with me I had him in the baby carrier on my back while I cooked dinner, because the ladies that had him said that he liked to be comforted that way. I carried him in the carrier all night long.”

Painfully, Jackie realized that her addiction and separation from Brayden had meant something she hadn’t expected. “I didn’t see him from the time he was ve months old until he was one because I was trying to not aect his life with my addiction, but I was also aecting him by not being there.”

Brayden’s emotional growth, speech and behavior were largely delayed, likely a consequence of the trauma of separation and instability he experienced in his rst year. “When he rst came to stay with me he didn’t talk at all. He didn’t know how to express himself. And he began acting aggressive. I even remember him guring out how to open the dishwasher, nding the knives, and running through the house with them. It was hard.” Without support, many children who experience early trauma and adversity have struggles that follow them into adulthood. “We see the negative consequences of these childhood struggles passed from one generation to the next in a cycle; a cycle perpetuated by a lack of resources. Early intervention is critical, and it works.” Says Katie Goger, Parent Support Specialist at Lydia Place.

Brayden, however, is not going to be a part of that cycle. With the help of the new Lydia Place Parent Support Program, case managers, weekly children’s groups, speech therapists, and partner agency programs, Brayden is on his way to catching up with his toddling peers. Jackie recounts, “At rst he (Brayden) didn’t want to play with other kids or leave my room. en we started meeting with a new speech therapist. From those appointments and meetings with Katie (Lydia Place Parent Support Specialist), he really started coming out of his shell.”

On September 25, 2015, exactly one year aer Jackie moved into the transitional housing program at Lydia Place, she, Brayden, and Kaydence moved to their own home. Jackie was approved for an apartment in Lydia Place’s Supportive Service Program, a partnership with Bellingham Housing Authority, and she and the children are beginning to establish their new routine. “I have to unpack, and I have appointments, and I try to remember to check my mailbox…but I’m glad I have my own place. It’s the perfect size for us; it’s comfortable. I’ve never had my own place before.” e children, particularly Brayden, are beginning to recognize and nd comfort in their new apartment. “As soon as we turn the corner at the street, Brayden’s says “Going home? Going home? We home? Home? Home?” It makes me really happy to hear that. He knows this is home.”

Brayden continues to meet with his speech therapist, attends weekly meetings with his mother and Lydia Place case manager- Alyssum Wyss, and twice-monthly meetings with Lydia Place Parent Support Specialist- Katie Goger. Lydia Place will remain a critical part of the young family’s plan to maintain stability and ensure their long-term success. Jackie states, “I started using drugs when I was really young so I consider this me starting out my life for the rst time. It’s like being born again. I’ve never done anything responsible, you know, so from the time I moved into Lydia Place until now, this is the longest that I have not been homeless since I was thirteen years old. I have my kids and my CPS case was dismissed.”

“Everything that’s happened to me since I moved into Lydia Place, to me it is the first of anything that’s ever happened for me. This is like living for the first time.”

Lydia Place is committed to ensuring that homeless individuals, families, and children like Brayden and his sister have every opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and achieve their dreams. Executive Director, Emily O’Connor, sees its role very clearly. “is is a problem we know how to solve; early intervention and support are critical for our young families. If we do the right thing now, and invest in our little ones, research shows us that we can, and will, change the course of their lives and the lives of generations to follow.

Read More

To view the full newsletter in PDF form, please click the link below.

Happy Hour for Housing

Happy Hour for Housing

Thank you for ensuring that every family and individual at Lydia Place had a place to call home this year. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating with you this December.


Join us for a spooky and kooky, chillingly-thrilling community dance party on All Hallows’ Eve right here in Bellingham… It’s the 8th annual Thrillingham! And this year, all proceeds from the event are being donated to Lydia Place!

What is Thrillingham?

Each October, community members join and learn the dance moves to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, then come together to perform the routine on Halloween night dressed as zombies to support a local non-profit. This year, Lydia Place was selected as the donations recipient and we could not be more thrilled to benefit from this community event. And let’s be honest, we will never be over paying tribute to the late MJ.

Anyone interested in joining in on the fun is invited to attend weekly dance rehearsals held at Love to Move Studioz at 311 E. Holly Street. You will have the chance to showcase your SPOOKtacular moves at Thrillingham on October 31st, held at Maritime park at 8 pm.


There will be raffle tickets sold for $1 at the Wise Buys Thrift Store and The Bureau of Historical Investigation. Rumor has it that there will be some frightfully fantastic local prizes given away, plus all proceeds will go to Lydia Place, so buy in abundance and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Want to learn more?

For more info, check out the Thrillingham website – Thrillingham.com. You can also check out a video of last year’s Thrillingham performance below ( “Thriller” starts at 22:00). We look forward to an eerie evening and some freakish fun, all going to benefit Lydia Place! See you ghosts and ghouls there!

Watch the Video

Adopt-a-Room At Lydia Place

Adopt a Room Program


$2,000 per bedroom

To adopt the children’s group room, living room or dining area, please contact our business office.


Continue your commitment to healthy living, ending poverty & positive childhood outcomes by becoming a legacy partner. Individual adopted room named in your honor or on behalf of a loved one, special group, or individual. Additional personalization of room possible.


Make your pledge by September 11th!

Additional Information

For more information, please contact our business office at (360) 671-7663 to schedule a tour of our transitional house and make your legacy.


Presenting the Downtown Upcycle Throwdown!

Downtown Upcycle Throwdown

To get entry details about the collaborative art contest uniting Ragfinery and Wise Buys Community Thrift for the first EPIC art and sustainability challenge debuting this August at the Downtown Bellingham Art Walk, please click the link below!


Lydia Place Construction Open for Bids

The Lydia Place Re-Hab Project is now open for bidding!

Applications will be accepted April 7 – April 28, 2015 at 1:30 PM.

To: RMC Architects, 1223 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225

Please click the link below to access our Advertisement To Bid Notice.

Thank you for your interest and happy bidding!