Bellingham shelter to extend hours in light of increased homelessness

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A Bellingham mission will stay open 24 hours daily in the fall as the number of homeless people rises.

The Bellingham Herald reports that a January count shows Whatcom County homelessness down from 2008 but up 10.4 percent from last year.

Unsheltered people sleeping in places like cars increased 40 percent from 2015.

Bellingham and The Lighthouse Mission were unsuccessful in finding a location for a shelter that would not have requirements like sobriety for people to stay there.

The extended hours at the drop-in center will allow about 80 people to spend the night on mats.

People can currently hang out at the mission on weekday afternoons.

An official says the mission uses programs to house about 150 people.

The mission's website lists ways to get involved.