Compass Housing Alliance
Providing Banking Services for the Homeless
The Compass Housing Alliance is a non-profit agency that provides transitional and emergency services to homeless men and women at 13 locations in the Puget Sound Region. The Client Services Office (CSO) is a department within the center that provides a unique banking-type service to Seattle’s “unbankable” homeless community.
Originally, employees of The Commerce Bank of Washington volunteered to give The Compass Housing Alliance a facelift as part of a “Christmas in April” program. Out of that effort, a unique partnership was born that helped to automate the center’s banking office, so they could serve their homeless clients more efficiently.
Among other services, the CSO provides the ability to receive VA and SSN benefits directly into accounts held by The Compass Housing Alliance via federal EFT transactions. This ability was designed and implemented by The Commerce Bank of Washington in partnership with The Compass Housing Alliance.
They also received an updated computer network, automated cash dispensing unit, and financial support from every major bank in Washington.
“These resources provided by government, non-profit and for-profit organizations make it possible for The Compass Housing Alliance to provide their valuable services to more people in need throughout our community” said Ron Lynch, the Commerce Bank employee and Compass Housing Alliance board member who helped to implement the new systems.
As it is one of the first alliances of its type in the country, this ground-breaking collaboration is being viewed by many as a pilot program that could be duplicated in other metropolitan areas.