Submitted by: Peoples Bank

Peoples Bank awarded Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County (DVSAS) a $25,000 Peoples Bank Impact Grant. The grant will be used to furnish a new 11-bed shelter opening this summer that will house single, female-identified survivors. This is the second Impact Grant awarded by Peoples Bank. Last year a $25,000 grant was awarded to Skagit Habitat for Humanity for the purchase of a new utility van.

“Shelter is the last resort for many survivors. By the time they come to DVSAS, they have likely been through at least one traumatic and emotional event,” said Jessica Heck, Development Director, DVSAS. “We will use these much-needed funds to purchase high-quality furniture and bedding, provide a fully-stocked and functional kitchen, and offer new towels and bathroom amenities at our newest shelter opening this summer. These comforts allow us to create a welcoming, comfortable and operational environment, and most importantly, give our clients hope. We are so grateful to Peoples Bank for making this possible.”

The Safe Housing Program operated by DVSAS originally included one 21-bed, shared residence for female survivors and their children who were homeless or about to become homeless due to domestic violence. Upon taking over the program in 2014, it was clear that more beds were needed to meet the demand of the county. In late 2015, with a mortgage from Peoples Bank, DVSAS purchased two additional buildings to serve as safe shelters. In July 2017, DVSAS opened a four-bed, shared residence for single female survivors. The new 11-bed shelter opening this summer is DVSAS’s third shelter in Bellingham. The Safe Housing Program also serves male survivors, housing them in safe hotels.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating, and can affect people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. DVSAS runs the only domestic violence and sexual assault-specific programs in Whatcom County. Last year, DVSAS served nearly 2,300 clients through its 24-hour helpline, walk-in support center, advocacy counseling, legal advocacy, shelters and other essential services. After staying at DVSAS shelters, clients consistently report having higher resiliency skills, more access to social services, and a better outlook on the future.

Peoples Bank Impact Grant

Peoples Bank Impact Grants are designed to provide a maximum of $25,000 to a single organization for a specific project, use or identified purpose that will have a long lasting, positive impact on the community. Approximately 50 community organizations submitted applications for the grant in 2018.

“We are humbled by the many high-quality applications we received on behalf of nonprofit organizations providing critical services in our communities,” said Michelle Barrett, Executive Vice President, Chief Retail Banking and Marketing Officer at Peoples Bank. “We are very proud to award our 2018 Impact Grant to DVSAS so it can expand its services and continue its important work helping survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault find safety, support and hope.”

In addition to the Impact Grant, Peoples Bank donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to local and regional nonprofit organizations providing valuable services in the arts, child and family services, education, health and social services, and civics. For more information about Peoples Bank community giving, please visit peoplesbank-wa.com/about-us/community-giving.

About Peoples Bank

Peoples Bank is a locally owned and operated, independent full-service community bank with over $1.6 billion in assets. Headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, the Bank was founded in 1921 and operates 23 branches located throughout Washington. In its most recent rating, Bauer Financial, a leading independent bank rating firm, awarded Peoples Bank its highest five-star superior rating. This rating recognizes Peoples Bank’s strong financial management practices, dedicated employees and long-standing customer relationships. Learn more at https://www.peoplesbank-wa.com/. 

About DVSAS

Based in Bellingham, Washington, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County (DVSAS) supports individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual exploitation, and leads the community towards ending these abuses of power. DVSAS envisions a safe, equitable community, free from the oppressions that lead to gender-based violence, where all individuals feel valued and respected. Learn more at https://www.dvsas.org/.

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