Food, Shelter, and Campus Resources
We strive to reduce financial barriers to learning by providing students with financial assistance to help pay for their educational expenses. Here are some offices and resources that offer help to students in need of food and shelter care or other on or off campus resources and support.
The Office of Student Life's Basic Needs website or staff can provide many helpful resources on or off campus and may be contacted for student assistance.
This page is updated regularly. Some on campus offices may have reduced hours or closures during campus intercessions and summer break. Contact the offices directly for any inquiries.
The Career Services Center in Old Main 280 provides the WWU Career Closet. Students/alumni can acquire free professional business attire appropriate for job or grad school interviews, networking events, and career fairs. Schedule an appointment to visit the Career Closet by visiting the Career Services Center in Old Main 280 or calling 360.650.4240 between 8-5, M-F.
Contact Britta Eschete at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Emergency Financial Aid Funding
The Student Emergency Fund provides assistance to help WWU students alleviate or minimize an unforeseen financial burden. Examples of eligible expenses may include housing, childcare, medical or dental fees, transportation or travel expenses, unpaid student account charges, and technology needs related to online coursework. Available to currently enrolled students. A current financial aid application is not required but encouraged to determine federal or state financial aid eligibility.
Emergency Loans are available to WWU students who need funding on a short term basis. Emergency loans are available for 30, 60, and even 90 days. This loan program can be helpful to students in between paychecks, are experiencing a delay in financial aid disbursement, or have some other short term cash flow difficulty. Visit our web page for eligibility and application information.
WWU Off Campus Living
WWU Off Campus Living is available to assist on the basics of renting, learning about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and creating community. Their website lists important information on safety, community, getting to know the Bellingham area and an Off-Campus Housing Marketplace to help you find a place to live.
The Office of Student Life
The Office of Student Life is available to assist WWU students who are experiencing a crisis or would like advice on university policies and community resources. They can especially help those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in accessing financial resources to support basic needs and students who request leaves of absence or Dean’s withdrawals.
On Campus Emergency Housing
The Office of Student Life can issue a room on-campus in a temporary, shared space when someone needs short-term, emergency housing. If you or someone you know does not have secure housing or has other urgent housing needs, contact the Office of Student Life at email@example.com or call 360.650.3706.
Residence Hall Reuse Program
On campus residents can use appliances and other household items free of charge that were donated by previous residents. See available inventory and learn about program logistics on the Resident Checkout Program website.
Contact URFacilities@wwu.edu with any questions.
Student Employment Center
Use Financial Aid’s Student Employment site or Career Service’s Handshake to look for on or off campus employment. For jobs with University Residences such as an RA, desk attendant or to work with on campus dining providers, review the University Residences website.
Western Success Scholars
Western Success Scholars (WSS) is a campus-based supportive program designed to assist all incoming WWU first-year, transfer, and continuing students who have experienced foster care or homelessness. The program fosters academic success and a sense of community and belonging by providing a place where students can have a voice, support services, and resources as they persist towards graduation.
WWU ADEI Unit
The Access, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Unit (ADEI) of WWU helps students to build community, explore their identity and find support and services on campus and in the local community. The ADEI unit provides support through Multicultural Student Services, LGBTQ+ Western, the Disability Access Center, and the Multicultural Center. Events, clubs, and other services are available through these various offices.
WWU Counseling & Wellness Center
Students have access to services such as consultations, intensive group therapy, and intensive brief individual therapy sessions, as well as an unlimited number of workshops and outreach events. Appointments are available virtually or in person in Old Main on the 5th floor.
Contact the Counseling Center at 360.650.3164 between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The after-hours crisis counselor is available through this same number 24 hours a day.
WWU Health Center
The Student Health Center (SHC) is located in the Campus Services building and provides an extensive array of services including preventive health care and management of health concerns, illnesses, and injuries. Open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.). Check with the SHC for hours during intercession or break periods. Learn more about student health insurance.
Contact 360.650.3400 to make a virtual appointment or to speak to a nurse.
If you are experiencing housing, food or other basic need insecurities, please reach out to our Basic Needs Resource Navigator, Gina Ebbeling at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.650.3895.
CEED Food Pantry
Located in Miller Hall 150, the Center for Education, Equity, and Justice has a food pantry that has a fridge, freezer, and shelf-stable products. Some produce comes from a partnership with ACME Farms. The pantry is open weekday afternoons from Noon – 5pm.
For more information, contact Grey Webster at email@example.com.
Fairhaven College Food Pantry
Drop off or pick up food at the pantry located across from the Main office on the 3rd floor of Fairhaven College and open when Fairhaven College is open. Shelf stable produce as well as non-perishable items and personal care items are available.
For more information, call Fairhaven College at 360.650.6680.
Journalism Department Food Pantry
Located across from office 257 in the Communications Facility, the Journalism Pantry launched in winter 2019 and was inspired by student projects that surveyed students about food insecurity at Western. All students are invited to take what they need in this space.
For more information, contact Betsy O’Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linguistics Department Pantry
Located in Bond Hall 403 in the Seminar Room and Resource Library, this food pantry is open Monday – Friday from 8am – 4:30pm during the academic year and has shelf-stable products all students are welcome to take if they need.
For more information, contact Jordan Sandoval at Jordan.Sandoval@wwu.edu.
WWU’s 5-acre, student-driven farm on south campus is a home for all students engage in ecosystem restoration, community building, and food justice. It is located between Fairhaven and Buchanan Towers. Engage with your campus community garden by getting a garden plot, volunteering, and picking your own free food.
For more information, contact email@example.com.
Parks Hall Food Pantry
Located in the College of Business’s Student Success Center in Parks Hall 045, the Parks Hall Food Pantry is open weekdays 8am – 5pm and has shelf-stable products and refrigerated goods that all students are welcome to take when they need.
For more information, contact Renee Gayden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sociology Department Food Pantry
Located in Arntzen Hall 510 in the Sociology Department community space and kitchen, this pantry is open Monday – Friday from 8am – 4:30pm. All students are invited to take what they need in this pantry space.
For more information, contact Melissa Osborne at email@example.com.
Viking Supported Agriculture
The Sustainability Engagement Institute allows students to sign up with Viva Farms to purchase a local organic produce box. It is available on a sliding scale and accepts EBT. Boxes are available for weekly pick up at High St Hall.
Learn more about the program and find links to sign up on the WWU Sustainability Engagement Institute website.
Western Hub of Living Essentials (WHOLE) Food Pantry
WWU Associated Students provides a food pantry on campus for university community members facing food insecurity. The pantry includes non-perishable food and personal care products such as shampoo and toothpaste.
The WHOLE Food Pantry is located in Viking Union 435 and open for some evening and weekend hours. No ID required.
For more information, contact Jenn Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WWU Emergency Food Funding
WWU students who need emergency food funding for a few days can seek assistance by contacting the Financial Aid Services Center.
Bellingham Food Bank
The Bellingham Food Bank serves as a hub, connecting neighbors and emergency food providers with a steady supply of nutritious groceries, fresh food, and a smile. It has options for anyone to shop in the downtown location, have a weekly pick-up option, or request a home delivery. Anyone living in Whatcom County can visit, and a name and address (which are optional) are all you need to share.
Food and Meal Guide
The Whatcom Asset Building Coalition does not want those who must live on a budget to think that a balanced diet is out of reach. There are various organizations in the community that provide support to help you learn how to cook and create delicious and nutritious meals. Additionally, there is a county food and meal resource guide that lists Whatcom County food banks and meal programs.
SNAP Market Match
SNAP Market Match program previously known as Fresh Bucks, matches Basic Food benefits (SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps) dollar-for-dollar for up to $40 in fresh produce per shopper per day. To get Market Match you must already have basic food benefits (SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps).
Washington Basic Food Program
Basic Food (the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program in WA), provides eligible households monthly benefits to buy food. Review the eligibility criteria and how to apply online. For an overview of this process, review the SNAP Webinar. If you receive Basic Food benefits and have an EBT card, you can make eligible purchases at Miller Market and in the Haven POD Market in Fairhaven College.
Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program
Various local Whatcom County providers can be contacted to schedule an appointment and assist you in receiving WIC services. For more information about WIC and eligibility, the Washington State Department of Health can be referenced.
2-1-1: Washington Information Network
2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember phone number for people to call for health and human service information and referrals and other assistance to meet their needs. Washington 211 maintains a statewide database of community resources. Call 2-1-1 from your phone or visit the website to find local food, shelter, and other resources.
Northwest Youth Services
Northwest Youth Services is a non-profit organization serving young people ages 13-24 experiencing homelessness in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. They support youth in identifying goals and building the skills necessary to reach their own sense of stability. Northwest Youth Services offers housing, street outreach, help finding a job or enrolling in school, connection to mental health services, support for LGBTQ youth, restorative justice for juvenile offenders, and referrals to other services in the community.
Cascade Natural Gas CARES Program
The Cascade Arrearage Relief and Energy Savings Program allows qualifying Cascade Natural Gas customers to receive a discount on the monthly bill or help with past due balances if needed. Additional assistance programs include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grants for Washington and weatherization assistance. You can apply through the Opportunity Council or contact Cascade Customer Service at 888.522.1130
The Opportunity Council is a private, non-profit Community Action Agency serving homeless and low-income families and individuals. The Opportunity Council offers a broad scope of services that range from addressing immediate and crisis-oriented needs (food, emergency shelter, and eviction-prevention) to longer-term programs that promote self-sufficiency in our community (early childhood education and home weatherization).
PSE Bill Discount & HELP Program
Whatcom County residents may qualify for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Bill Discount or HELP (bill assistance) programs which provide assistance for gas and electrical bills. There is one simple application and in most cases no proof of income is required. To determine if you are eligible go to pse.com/discount. When you apply with PSE for Bill Discount, they will also create an application for HELP. Contact the local agency to verify if you qualify for HELP or for additional assistance programs.
The Opportunity Council 360.734.5121 ext. 3 OR The Salvation Army (Bellingham 360.733.1410) or (Lynden 360.354.4673).
The Lighthouse Mission
The Lighthouse Mission is located in Whatcom County and is open to anyone looking to break the cycle of homelessness by providing safe shelter, nutritious meals and one-on-one case management. They offer several faith-based programs and services for immediate and extended stay options. Their programs include Base Camp (overnight shelter and meals), Agape Home for Women and children and the Ascent Men’s Recovery Program. You may contact them at 360.733.5120.
Whatcom County Crisis Services
Whatcom County Crisis Services. Information for immediate services for shelter, food, clothing, and mental health care.
Whatcom Homeless Service Center
The Whatcom Homeless Service Center coordinates many of the housing resources in Whatcom County and has created a centralized and accessible way to link consumers to appropriate services.
VITA Tax Assistance
Need assistance with preparing and filing taxes? Visit the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, typically from February through April of each year.