The Whidbey Homeless Coalition

A broad group of concerned individuals and organizations from all areas of  Whidbey Island and including government, social services, church, business and fraternal organization as well as individuals from all walks of life.  Founded in July 2014,  the SWHC board includes 12 people reflecting the member spectrum of backgrounds, experience and attributes. 

Board of Directors

The WHC board of directors is a strong, balanced blend of local activists and advocates with exceptional knowledge and considerable experience poised to strategically guide WHC and support the delivery of long-term services and value to those in need.  Members come from diverse backgrounds and expertise and are shown here with their personal statement and primary affiliation.  We believe..............

  Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.... 

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Marti Bauer -Board Secretary-Retired Puget Sound Energy.

I am a compulsive Volunteer.  Since retiring I have given service to His Hands Extended, a ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church, devoted to the homeless in Seatte, I served as Co-Director of Helping Hand, and have served on the SWHC since it's inception.  I have also Volunteered at Bayview Senior Center, working in the kitchen for Meals on Wheels and drove seniors to their medical appointments.  I am currently a volunteer at Whidbey General Hospital, assisting a nurse in the the Heartwise Screening program at Island Athletic Club. I love helping out my neighbors and those who are struggling in this economy.  My hope and wish for the future of the SWHC isthat someday Hope Village, our vision for a tiny house community, will become a reality!

Vivian Rogers Decker

Vivian Rogers Decker, founder and president of SPIN Café, has been serving the community for the last 16 years as a homeless liaison and student support specialist for two local school districts.  She has a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. In addition, she has been instrumental in founding six different non-profit organizations and projects, of which SPIN Café is her most recent endeavor. Vivian is passionate about creating communities that are responsive to the needs of all citizens, especially those members who are struggling with issues related to poverty and homelessness. 

Shellie Moore  (The SWHC is happy to welcome Shellie to our board!)

I was born and mostly raised in Seattle and moved to Whidbey Island in 1983 with my husband Lance and our two children, Elijah and Goldah.  We quickly put down deep roots and have been involved with many community organizations and endeavors.  I worked with young families for 20 years, primarily with Pregnancy Aid, most of that time right in the House of Hope.

In 2004 I dove into being a full time Realtor with Windermere in Langley. Affordable housing is an issue in this line of work that comes up nearly every day, so I was interested in South Whidbey Homeless Coalition nearly from the inception. I was pleased to help SWHC get into the House of Hope; it was one of those coming full circle experiences in life. Entering my 60’s, I am now ready to curb my workaholic tendencies to make more time once again for community service. SWHC feels like a good fit for my interests and skills and I hope to help further their goals. 

Judy Thorslund -  Retired Human Service Provider/Good Cheer Volunteer
I'm a retired Chemical dependency professional and mental health case manager for youth and families  Prior to this work I managed a House of Hospitality (Genesis House) for women and children on South Whidbey for 6 years.   After retiring I left Whidbey to volunteer in a Catholic Worker House in Rochester, NY and spent the next 10 years working with, and living among the poor and the homeless there. Since coming back to Whidbey I've have been actively involved in advocating for the poor and the unsheltered here in our community.  My passion stems from a deep understanding of the injustice in this world and wanting to do my small part to right it.

 Diane Watson - Retired South Whidbey School District

After working in South Whidbey School District for 28 years in student support services with the wonderful caring staff of the district,  it became clear that  shelter/ housing was a huge issue for many of our families with children because of unforeseen circumstances.  The district started the Readiness to Learn/Family Resource Center to support families and they were  one  of the first district in the Washington state to receive a grant to ensure that homeless children have  equal and timely access to education.   Though we are a small community the response by citizens for those in need is tremendous and so many worthy organizations continue that work.  For me too be part of an organization that is actively developing solutions for our neighbors in need of  Emergency Shelter and Affordable Permanent Housing  is a privilege.

Faith Wilder- Board President –
Whidbey Island Nourishes and Real Change After a corporate life where business travel opened my eyes to places where people suffer extreme poverty, I started to work toward making systemic change. Coming to live on Whidbey I see our own people suffering and want to become part of the solution. Right here; right now.

Caron Womsley - Financial Officer - Edwards and Associates, CPA
It's personal for me. I was a single mother who needed a safe haven in which to raise my children and ensure they were safe and got a good education. God bless my clan. They took us in. "SWHC has a single-minded purpose of advocacy and action on behalf of the homeless. As Treasurer, I have some specific talents to offer and, thankfully, some "tokens" to share. It's time for me to put words into action. It's an honor to serve on the Board.


Ursula Roosen-Runge Executive Director

Ursula brings a unique combination of skills and experiences to manage the organization,it's staff and programs as well as to strategically position WHC to fully realize it's role in producing positive outcomes for the homeless on Whidbey. Her social justice orientation has prevailed in the many sustainable efforts she has consulted to and others which she hasdirectly started up and directed. Many Whidbey non-profits have benefited from her organizational skills and strategic insights. Ursula is phasing into this new role which will be full time by year's end. We are pleased she has chosen to apply her skills to the work of Whidbey Homeless Coalition

Shawna Pinder-Haven Manager

Shawna's responsibilities include managing the Haven; recruiting and training volunteers; coordinating with supporters and planning committee while representing the work of the coalition to the north island community.

My background is in health care with a specific focus on quality of life.  I came to Whidbey Island ten years ago with my husband and knew very quickly this was our forever home.  Through the network of wonderful and giving people on Whidbey,  I have been blessed with opportunities to volunteer with organizations and events that make our Island such a wonderful place to be. I have hosted The Street Store for the last three years with the support of SPIN Café and other dedicated volunteers.  I am passionate about serving our community and helping to provide opportunities for people in need. 

DeAnna Furman: Haven Assistant

Deanna is the Haven Shelter Assistant.  Her role is to open and close the Haven on nights the Shelter Manager is not there. She will provide guest hospitality; direct the night's volunteers in their work and coordinate with intake and transportation resources.

I am a born and raised 5th generation Islander whose compassion for the homeless community has led me to do outreach in the Oak Harbor area for the last 8 months. I am dedicated to serving andhelping those in need. I am super excited for this opportunity for our community. 

Tracey Channing-Program Administrative Coordinator

Grant Management/Administration Process Reimbursement packets and ensure that documentation of Grant submission and Reimbursement requests are maintained and documented. 

Ensure SWHC is operating within guidelines of both Local and County Grants and their required systems.   Install, configure and maintain HMIS (Island County Coordinated Entry System) to remain in-line with the County Grant requirement. This includes admitting, documenting and the exiting or our clients when our services are no longer needed. Ensure that Insurance Reporting is up to date.Research, Implement and deploy new software for Non-Profit Organization

Install, Configure and Maintain Bloomerang.  Bloomerang is our web based interactive data base that helps to keep track of our Donors, Pledges, In-kind Donations, Grants and Volunteers.  Import/Export necessary information to new software and integrated program with Quickbooks, Bookkeeping functions.

ASHLEY ROWLEY  Mentor Coordinator/House Manager

My name is Ashley Rowley. I was born in Bellingham, Washington and raised in the foothills of Mt. Baker. I attended college at Washington State University, graduating in 2012 with a double major in psychology and human development. After graduation, I followed my college sweetheart and now husband Sam Rowley back to his hometown of Langley where we now live. My heart lies with non-profits and helping others and I'm so excited to contribute as the new Mentor Coordinator/House Manager for the SWHC! 

Mentor Coordination

  • Recruits and trains Volunteer Mentors

  • Identifies and facilitates appropriate matches between Volunteer Mentors and Guests

  • Monitors Mentor/Mentees progress through the program

  • Resolves inter-personal situations that need outside intervention

  • Convenes and Leads scheduled Mentor Support / Development meetings

  • Maintains and updates Mentor Procedures and Manuals

House Management

  • Liaises with Island County Housing Support as to referrals

  • Conducts Initial Housing intake and assessment for individuals and families seeking housing and engages volunteer nurses in medical intake.

  • Maintains the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) as appropriate in coordination with co-worker and County instructions

  • Working in conjunction with the Facilities Manager, ensures chores are assigned to guests and completed in a satisfactory manner

  • Resolves inter-personal guest situations that need require intervention

  • Convenes and Leads weekly House of Hope Guest meetings

  • Provides referrals to appropriate community housing programs, Readiness to Learn, mental health / substance abuse services, medical services, DSHS, etc.


We rely on a strong group of individuals to help with advising and informing us when seeking diverse and expert opinion  from each person here, in their field of expertise, to help in our work.

Gail LaVasser, is the Executive Director of the Family Resource Center, which is a partnership between Readiness  to Learn Foundation and the South Whidbey School District who share strengths and resources to create and sustain programs for children and families.

Kathy McCabe, is the Executive Director of Good Cheer and has been involved in countless other organizations that serve the community of South Whidbey.  She is a former business owner and fierce advocate for families and children.

Susie Richards, MEd, is a Washington State Certified Teacher and  a fellow in the Washington State Consortium for Contextual Teaching and Learning and currently serves as an academic mentor with Western Governor’s University and instructs for Heritage Institute / Antioch University’s extension programs.  

Nigel Taber-Hamilton,  Nigel is the current Rector at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Freeland, and came to Whidbey Island in 2000 after serving 19 years in several parishes in southern Indiana. He hails from London, England, emigrating to this country in 1977. You’ll often find him surrounded by animals—including Toby the collie, and Henry VIII the dachshund (often referred to as The Henry). When he has time he reads, and writes.

Luis Sanchez is the Associate Pastor at the Island Church in Langley.He and his wife Melissa came from Philadelphia having served for seven years at True Vine Church Community.  Most recently and immediately before joining the Island Church Luis served at True Vine as a Campus Pastor.  Luis is from Long Island-Hempstead, NY and Melissa is from Essex Junction, Vermont.