Housing for Children & Families

Our goal:

Children and families of all races and ethnicities in Whatcom County have housing justice, and the assurance of stable, high-quality, safe, and affordable housing.

Why it matters:

Housing is more than just shelter, it’s a foundation for opportunity. When everyone has a safe, stable place to live, they can better focus on their health, education, and well-being.

Stable housing fosters strong communities where individuals and families can thrive. In Whatcom County, many families face systemic barriers that make finding affordable and stable housing incredibly difficult. These barriers can take many forms, including:

  • Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or family status.
  • Wages often haven’t kept pace with rising housing costs, making it impossible for many families to afford decent housing.
  • Shortages in affordable housing options further squeeze families who already face financial challenges.

The consequences of these barriers are real. Families facing unstable housing often experience:

  • Increased stress and anxiety: The constant fear of eviction or living in inadequate housing takes a toll on mental health.
  • Disrupted education: Frequent moves due to housing instability can disrupt children’s education, impacting their academic achievement.
  • Health problems: Overcrowding and poor living conditions can contribute to the spread of diseases and exacerbate existing health issues.

By tackling systemic barriers and investing in housing justice, we can:

  • Create a fair and equitable housing market where everyone has a chance to access safe and affordable housing.
  • Provide families with the foundation to thrive, improving their physical and mental well-being.
  • When families are stable, communities are stronger, fostering a more inclusive and prosperous environment.

Data highlights:

Housing Affordability in Whatcom County

Many struggle to afford housing in Whatcom County. While the federal standard suggests 30% of income spent on housing is reasonable, rising costs in other areas like child care and food can make this unrealistic. This highlights the need for…

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What we’re working on:

Whatcom County is investing in its youngest residents! The voter-approved Healthy Children’s Fund (HCF) invests in programs and services for children from prenatal to age 5 and their caregivers, aligning with our Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Housing for children and families is a top priority for the HCF. Look for the (HCF) tag to see specific CHIP strategies funded by this initiative. Visit our HCF section for a complete list of housing programs supported by the fund.

Housing Justice

Work toward housing justice in every neighborhood and rural community.

  • Increase the supply of available units for rent and purchase. 
  • Build wealth for BIPOC families through increased opportunities for homeownership.

Housing Equity

Ensure housing assistance prioritizes prevention, equity, and child well-being. 

  • Expand programs and services that increase housing stability and prevent homelessness. (HCF)
  • Reform eligibility guidelines for housing services to center child well-being through racial equity and trauma-informed decisions and care. 
  • Ensure anti-racist, healing-centered approaches within organizations by increasing the representation of clients and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) on program design and review teams.


Increase investments in community-building approaches to advance housing equity.

  • Create a communications campaign to reach white, middle, and upper-class neighborhoods to increase awareness and shift community values towards housing justice. 
  • Advocate for changes to local, state, and national housing laws and policies. 

Community Spotlight: Healthy Whatcom partner Northwest Youth Services (NWYS) is a leader in utilizing anti-racist, healing-centered practices in their work to end youth houselessness. NWYS empowers youth to overcome houselessness and achieve their full potential. They envision a future where every young person has a safe and stable environment to thrive, regardless of their circumstances. To do this, NWYS formed a Youth Action Board and Cultural Impact Committee (a staff team responsible for reviewing organizational climate, culture, policies, and practices), to center youth voice and actively dismantle the systems leading to youth houselessness.

How to get involved:

Are you interested in collaborating with our Housing Action team or supporting our work through your organization? Please get in touch: we’d love to hear from you!