The Anacortes Community Health Council coordinates the efforts of churches, city government, public agencies, private organizations, and community groups in order to better provide human services to the citizens of Fidalgo Island. The Council also provides fiscal sponsorship and the means of collaborative effort for other nonprofit agencies.
For more than 35 years, the ACHC has supported numerous projects that promote success in school, violence prevention, substance abuse awareness, health education, family strengthening, teen support, and care for the homeless.
Activities and Programs:
- We hold monthly meetings, with the participants noted above, and have improved access to human services for our island residents who are isolated from the usual providers of those services.
- We provide the synergy and a forum for coordinated effort that has dramatically increased the ability of groups to work together to initiate and sustain a number of projects in Anacortes, such as:
- The Consolidated Motel Voucher program was an initiative of the ACHC that enabled churches to pool their emergency shelter voucher funds into one common pool. This enable all the churches to know who were using funds and precluded the need for the homeless to travel from church to church looking for support. The ACHC ran the program for five years until the Anacortes Family Center was able to consolidate it in their mission profile.
- After conducting a survey of members and community leaders to determine the greatest service gap in Anacortes, the ACHC connected the Skagit Adult Day Care with Christ Episcopal Church to establish the first (and only) adult respite care in Anacortes—the Gentry House. Christ Episcopal provides the house and Skagit Adult Day Care provides the management.
- The ACHC provided the coordination for churches, the City of Anacortes and the Salvation Army to open the city’s first Cold Weather Shelter. ACHC coordinated the siting of the facility, began the recruiting program for volunteers and enlisted the management skills of The Salvation Army of Anacortes and the Anacortes Family Center to run the program.
- The ACHC provides the forum in which churches, law enforcement and nonprofits can share information about the welfare of individuals living on the street Anacortes and how to better connect these individuals to services.
- During the COVID-19 response we held our first Zoom meeting to coordinate the various feeding programs in Anacortes, to determine what City services were available and how they can be provided under the current quarantine of City Hall, and to fix where the central point of contact would be located for inquiries for services by the public. Our meeting participants (strewn about in Skagit and Island counties) opined that this might be the best way to meet in the future, even after (hopefully) the pandemic comes to an end.
- ACHC has provided the fiscal umbrella/sponsorship for:
- The Anacortes Family Center (Anacortes’ homeless shelter as well as an affordable housing provider) when it first started seeking funding.
- The Anacortes Regeneration Project (a guns-to-art project of the Anacortes Arts Festival)
- The Anacortes Wellness Coalition (to which we also provided funding for their film series and a resiliency program for Middle and High School children).