BECU Donates $20,000 to Support Compass Health’s Supportive Housing Program



Pam Damron, Compass Health

Todd Pietzsch, BECU

BECU Donates $20,000 to Support Compass Health’s Supportive Housing Program

(Everett, WA – October 23rd, 2014)

BECU remains committed to affordable housing efforts around the Puget Sound region. For that reason, they offer $80,000 in grants to non-profit organizations committed to creating and sustaining affordable housing. Four recipients were selected to each receive $20,000 to further enable their community outreach efforts. For the first time, Compass Health was selected as one of the BECU’s recipients for this funding.

“We cannot be more thankful to BECU and its employees for this incredible grant to Compass Health,” said Compass Health CEO and President, Tom Sebastian. “Companies that give back to the communities where their employees and customers live and work is what makes this region a great place to call home.”

Compass Health’s Supportive Housing program provides safe, affordable housing located in Island, Skagit, Whatcom, and Snohomish counties, either in their own apartment or shared housing. . By providing homeless individuals with a safe, stable living environment and wrap-around services from experienced clinical and housing teams, they are able to reduce the cycle of homelessness in our communities.

This is often a challenging process and the first six months are the most critical. Compass Health is dedicated to keeping people housed, promoting independence, and increasing stability to their participants by providing them with basic life skills, increasing social networks, and decreasing the cycle of homelessness. The goal is to promote independence and  insight into their illness so that after six months of supportive services, those housed can live independently with minimal external support.

“The demand for affordable housing in our region, especially for individuals living with behavioral health issues, is constantly on the rise,” comments Nancy Cole, Director of Housing and Development at Compass Health. “Even with all of the incredible support of the community and the work other non-profits are doing, Compass Health’s wait list remains at two years.”

When individuals who are struggling with a mental illness are provided safe, decent, affordable housing along with supportive treatment services, they are likely to remain in their communities and avoid jails, unnecessary hospitalization, and decrease use of emergency services. Existing evidence based practices show that homeless individuals are more likely to remain housed if they are able to receive intensive supportive services during the first six months of move in and ongoing support up to one year as needed.

Being homeless is one of the most devastating situations a person can face. When a person is mentally ill in addition to being homeless, everyday life can become impossible. Mentally ill homeless individuals are some of the most vulnerable citizens in our communities.

“Compass Health understands you cannot begin to address the healthcare needs of mentally ill individuals if they are also homeless or on the verge of homelessness,” says Tom Sebastian. “By providing housing services to our community, Compass Health ensures that we are providing a full continuum of care for our clients.”

Each of the selected non-profit organizations affordable housing efforts are contingent on charitable support such as BECU Housing Grants. “We understand that affordable options and support are the biggest issues many face when it comes to finding a home. To help overcome this obstacle, BECU is investing in the work of non-profit organizations to develop strong vibrant communities throughout the region,” says Tom Berquist, BECU Senior Vice President of Marketing and Cooperative Affairs. BECU will begin a new cycle for housing grants in 2015.

About Compass Health

Compass Health’s mission is to champion the quest for well-being and advance behavioral health in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom, and Snohomish counties. For more than 113 years, Compass Health has been providing innovative mental health services to children and adults of all ages and cultural backgrounds.  As one of the largest and most well-respected mental health agencies in Western Washington, Compass offers a comprehensive range of programs, such as inpatient, outpatient, residential, crisis, triage, and chemical dependency treatment to more than 20,000 people annually.

About BECU
BECU is a not-for profit credit union owned by members. With more than 850,000 members and more than $12.0 billion in assets, BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. BECU currently operates over 40 locations in the Puget Sound region. All Washington state residents and students attending Washington colleges and universities are eligible to join. Learn more at