Dear Neighbors,

When Lydia Place first opened our doors in 1989, it was to meet an unmet need in our community by providing temporary housing and support for families with children. Nearly 35 years later, Lydia Place has expanded our scope and services to focus on upstream interventions and nurture whole-family healing that disrupt the generational cycle of poverty and homelessness. While we have evolved in countless ways as an organization, one thing that has not changed is our commitment to being adaptable by finding new, innovative ways to deliver on our mission to prevent and end family homelessness.  

Today, Lydia Place serves over 300 families annually by pairing a variety of housing interventions and case management with parenting support and mental health counseling so that families exiting homelessness in Whatcom County can get back into housing and stay there. Despite rapid organizational growth over the last decade which has made meaningful, generational impacts for the families in our programs, the growing housing and mental health crisis our community is facing is quickly outpacing us. This calls for our biggest and most ambitious plan yet. 

In response, Lydia Place has developed a Strategic Plan that will shape our next 5 years as an organization. Our strategic direction includes four initiatives which are guided by our mission, vision, and values, and paired with research, actions, and goals that reflect the urgency of the housing crisis alongside interventions that will improve community outcomes for generations to come. Within this framework, which summarizes what we expect to see because of our work, we are poised to make a significant and measurable difference with and for our neighbors to disrupt the generational cycle of homelessness. 

At Lydia Place, we believe that everyone has something to contribute to this work. We all play a role in stewarding our time, resources, advocacy, and humanity to create a community of belonging where everyone has a home and the opportunity to thrive. A healthy, vibrant Whatcom County is ours to shape. We invite you to join us with care, heart, and hope as we continue to meet the needs of families with children exiting homelessness in our neighborhoods, schools, and communities. 


Ashley Thomasson 
Executive Director 

How did we get here?

Summer 2023

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Fall 2023

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Winter 2023/2024

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Spring 2024

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Strategic Plan Initiatives

Our strategic direction includes four initiatives which are guided by our values of:

community, equity, upstream impact, employee wellness.​

Initiative 1

To disrupt the generational cycle of homelessness through
increasing and expanding prevention strategies.

Lydia Place will work upstream to prevent families from losing housing by expanding our services to include “prevention” as a model of housing intervention and broaden our capacity for healing-centered services in order to decrease the likelihood that the children in our programs will become the next generation of clients we serve. 

We will:


Determine the scale and scope reasonable for us to offer prevention as a housing intervention; create access to housing solutions for families that meet a broadened definition of homelessness and who are not eligible for housing through the Coordinated Entry System 

Build Access

Establish priorities and processes to meet the housing needs of those who have historically and strategically been prevented from accessing mainstream housing services 


Build and deepen relationships with schools, early learning centers, by-and-for organizations, local tribes, and other community groups to coordinate referrals and access to services 

Center Healing

Increase internal capacity and scale-up specialized-services for our Parent Support and Mental Health Programs to mitigate trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and nurture individual and whole-family healing  

You May See:

  • Less families losing housing and needing services through Coordinated Entry.

  • New, creative partnerships with rural communities, early learning centers, school districts, and community health groups.

  • More staff joining our team, and expanded service and therapy specializations such as EMDR therapy and Critical Time Intervention 

Initiative 2

To cultivate sustained housing and positive health outcomes through the healing effects of social connection and community.

Lydia Place will create safe spaces to build and nurture social connection and belonging for the families we serve that strengthen their hope for the future and expand their safety-net of external supports. We will focus on this within our client relations, our agency, and the broader community. 

We will:


Expand opportunities for clients to participate in meaningful ways as stakeholders and influencers in organizational decision-making 


Build upon existing program offerings that build community, as defined by the families we serve  Cultivate: Study innovative work happening across the globe and bring new, innovative ideas to our work that nurture social connection and belonging 


Study innovative work happening across the globe and bring new, innovative ideas to our work that nurture social connection and belonging


Use quantitative and qualitative data to deeper understand the impact of client connections to community and regularly review successes, gaps, and adjust service strategy accordingly.

You May See:

  • More current or former Lydia Place families serving on client advisory committees, employee interview panels, focus groups, board of directors, peer support programs, and joining us in employment.

  • 1-2 pilot programs designed to bring in new creative partnerships and bridge authentic, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships between families we serve and the broader community.  

  • Data available about the impact increased social connection and belonging has had on the families we serve such as improved sense of community, mental health, parent/child relationships, and sustained permanent housing.

Initiative 3

To increase equity at all levels of the organization.

Lydia Place will invest heavily in time, money, energy, and additional resources to ensure that we are building the framework, structures, culture, policies, and practices that ensure the conditions for inclusion, equity, and belonging in our work. 

We will:


Identify and analyze strategies for disrupting the cycle of homelessness based on how different groups are situated within our society, culture, and systems.


Invest time, heart, and resources into ongoing training, reflection, and crucial conversations for staff and board members that shape our organizational culture of humility and cultivate a sense of belonging that ensures Lydia Place is a safe space for all people. 

Build Access

Expand language equity, increase employment and training opportunities for those with lived experiences, invest in long-term recruitment strategies to reduce barriers for diverse and multi-lingual providers entering the field, increase pathways for client feedback to shape our work, and dismantle organizational systems that inhibit accessibility, participation, and belonging 


Engage in ongoing systems advocacy to coordinate community-wide solutions that address issues rooted-in or perpetuating systemic racism, with a specific focus on addressing disparate outcomes and disrupting barriers to accessing services. 

You May See:

  • Increased formal and informal opportunities for clients to provide input and recommendations that inform our work and practices, including the establishment of a Client Advisory Board. 
  • Dedicated staffing to review organizational policies and practices to further internal equity change; time and space carved out for Communities of Practice and Employee Resource Groups, to emerge. 
  • Services and materials offered in multiple languages that reflect the populations and demographics of who we serve.  
  • Educational resources and information available about local policy, advocacy opportunities, and ways to get involved. 
  • A paid apprenticeship program that creates pathways to employment for those with lived experience and who have historically not had access to higher education in the social services field.

Initiative 4

To expand our organizational infrastructure and build the internal and external capacity necessary to accomplish our strategic initiatives

Lydia Place will establish an effective capacity building plan that centers our growth with organizational values-alignment, ensures efficiency and good stewardship of our valuable resources, increases understanding of our work, and provides the space necessary to offer a growing variety of services to the families we serve.  

We will:


Adopt a framework to use when reviewing emerging opportunities that centers our organizational mission, values, and commitment to equity; regularly review our staffing structure, infrastructure, and resources available to ensure we have the capacity to grow when and as needed


Create an internal and external strategy for communication to increase efficiency, understanding, alignment, and clarity on progress of organizational goals and strategies 


Continue to build a diverse pool of revenue streams to support our strategic growth that allows for flexibility so we can nimbly respond to emerging needs; research and bring in key resources and technology that will help us do more work in less time 

Make Space

Conduct a needs assessment to determine spatial needs and move towards an office space solution that can host all Lydia Place staff, provide a variety of unique spaces for healing services and community building, and accommodate anticipated growth for the next 15+ years 

You May See:

  • A strategy screen to guide key stakeholders in making thoroughly considered, values-aligned decisions regarding emerging opportunities.
  • Streamlined processes and new software to support effective and efficient work-management.
  • More data and information regularly available both internally and externally regarding the outcomes of the large scope of work that we do.
  • New opportunities to join us in contributing to our work.
  • A capital campaign to support a new office building with room to grow, creatively collaborate with partners and provide therapeutic spaces for gatherings that foster community, healing, and belonging.