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Seattle’s first mobile shower unit hits the streets

March 28, 2017 | By: ASSOCIATED PRESS and 

Seattle’s first mobile shower unit hit the streets.

The shower unit nicknamed, Shower the People, a reference to James Taylor’s “Shower the People [with Love],” pulled up to 9701 Myers Way S, the current site of Camp Second Chance Tuesday morning.

The shower unit is operated by Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, Amerigroup, and The MORELove Project.

The Mission will provide the staffing and oversee the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the shower unit.

Thanks to a generous gift from Amerigroup, the purchase of the shower unit was made possible and Amerigroup will also provide residents regular trainings and resources in areas of substance abuse, mental health, and flu prevention.

The MORELove Project brought the partners together and will provide ongoing volunteer support.

The partnered agencies hosted a ribbon cutting and media event on Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., directly before opening for service. Amerigroup has invited Sea Mar Community Health Centers to participate in the launch event, whose navigators assist with Basic Food Program and Medicaid Washington Apple Health applications as well as provide referrals to health care services at their centers.

Shower services have long been on the Camp Second Chance website wish list. One resident, Scott, exclaimed, “This is amazing!” upon hearing the news.

The shower unit will begin service at the Camp Second Chance encampment and will serve approximately 30 residents every Tuesday, with expansions to other sites in coming months. Residents will each be able to take a 15-minute hot shower and receive clean, dry towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

This location was the first chosen based on the potential to provide showers for all residents without refilling the water tank and ease of access for parking. The unit can provide up to 30 showers, two at a time, before it needs to be refilled with water.

“Since the day Amerigroup started serving Washingtonians, we have been committed to reaching people where they are,” said Daryl Edmonds, Amerigroup Washington president. “This partnership is just another example of how we remain devoted to bringing innovative healthcare solutions while ensuring a great level of care and dignity to the communities that we serve.”

“Our team is very excited to have another tool in our tool belt to help those experiencing homelessness. The Mission serves more than 60 encampments on a regular basis, but we could not do it without faithful partners and volunteers, such as Amerigroup and The MORELove Project. This collaboration will allow our outreach team to offer a new, needed service at some of these encampments and build further relationships with those in greatest need,” said Jeff Lilley, president of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

“The MORELove Project exists to rally groups and companies together to serve the needs of our homeless neighbors. It’s crucial not to work in silos, and Shower the People is one example of three very different organizations coming together to meet a common goal,” said Kristine Moreland, founder and director of The MORELove Project. “We look forward to seeing the difference this shower unit makes in the lives of our dear friends on the streets.”

In the future, these organizations would like to expand shower services to other sites throughout King County and look at other services that might be mobilized to these same sites. For more information, please visit www.ugm.org/showerthepeople.

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