Since July 2020, when Basecamp, a low-barrier shelter, was established by Lighthouse Mission Ministries in partnership with the City of Bellingham, downtown retail businesses have experienced increased vandalism and loitering, which has adversely impacted business. In response to this, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was formed to provide a platform/forum for downtown businesses to discuss current issues and lobby to public officials like the City and Mayor for assistance.
After many months of weekly meetings, we are happy to report that these efforts have paid off and that the City of Bellingham has hired Risk Solutions Unlimited (RSU) to monitor the downtown areas that are most impacted and in closest proximity to Basecamp. In addition to hiring RSU to monitor the areas around Basecamp, the City of Bellingham has created an Ambassador Program. The Ambassador Program was created in response to the Bellingham Police Department facing staffing shortages. Often people are finding that 911 calls result in a slow police response time. One of the goals with this program is to provide the public with a phone number to call when they are dealing with problem individuals or feel unsafe downtown. The Ambassador program should be able to have an Ambassador on-site for any public property throughout most of downtown within a minute or two as a first response in dealing with problem individuals.
Contact Ambassador Program during normal business hours (8-5) by calling 360-220 1156
Contact RSU outside of normal business hours by calling: 800-824-2383
The Ambassador and RSU programs are temporary solutions that the City has worked hard to come up with to help with current issues in response to numerous requests for help from some of us involved in downtown issues. Now it is our job to get downtown businesses and employees on board and making use of these programs.