At Giva we search for organisations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here!
For people dealing with homelessness, it can be very difficult to access a warm, clean and safe shower. People can chose from a few different locations, such as shelters, workout centres, and beach and campground bathrooms. However, some shelters do not have showers, and these other locations may feel uncomfortably crowded or lack privacy. Furthermore, warm water is never a guarantee at any of these places.
Recognising the need for quality shower facilities for the homeless community, Australian not for profit One Voice created the Mobile Shower Service, which provides free hot showers to people dealing with homelessness. The service uses retired buses, which have been redesigned to include two shower cubicles, water tanks, a generator, and a room for health check-ups. This redesign process costs approximately $140,000. In addition to a warm shower, homeless individuals can also access free hygiene products and clean clothing.
The organisation's first shower service occurred in Melbourne City. One person who used the service was asked to describe what a shower means to her: "It makes us feel like we can sit next to someone to go for a job, we can ask for accommodation...you can sit there amongst people and think that you're not going to get stared at", she said. Showers are not just important for hygiene, but also for a person's overall sense of well-being and dignity. By providing the Australian homeless community with free showers, One Voice is helping people feel better both inside and out.
There are services running in Melbourne City; Werribee, Victoria; and Sydney, with plans for Gold Coast. If you are interested in helping bring warm showers to the Australia homeless community, you may wish to donate online here.
The Mobile Shower Service reflects an interesting change in the kind of services that not for profit organisations are providing to homeless communities. Traditionally, not for profits have focused on helping homeless individuals meet their basic life-sustaining needs (e.g. food, water, and shelter). However, a growing number of not for profits is seeking to further improve the physical and emotional well-being of the homeless. It is not just about helping people survive anymore; it is also about helping them live healthy, dignified lives.
With its shower service, One Voice is helping to change the lives of Australian homeless individuals and the way we speak about homelessness in the world community.