How One Man Is Bringing Showers To The Homeless
Jake Austin has dedicated his life to serving the homeless population in St. Louis, Missouri. While volunteering, he noticed a big problem. Even when organizations would routinely provide shower and bath products along with food and clothes, hygiene remained an issue. The issue being that the products were useless if the homeless didn’t have a safe place to use them.
So, Austin took matters into his own hands and created a mobile washroom, “Shower to the People.” He started with a used truck purchased from Craigslist for $5,000. He then raised additional support through a GoFundMe campaign for renovations. Inside the truck he created two private shower stalls, sinks, and mirrors.
The truck connects to fire hydrants for water, and uses an external generator for heating. With this unique system, it can easily travel all across the city, providing up to 60 people with a warm shower and comfortable shave each day.
Austin told My Modern Met that the need for hygiene often gets overlooked. Even though homeless shelters around St. Louis are equipped with showers, they’re only accessible to official residents. Homeless people will often turn to gym memberships for bath access or otherwise wash off using public sinks, libraries, the river or even hoses in strangers’ backyards.
Maintaining basic cleanliness is critical when it comes to securing and keeping a job, not to mention its role in fighting infection and illness. In the inspiring project’s introduction video, Austin explains: “Good hygiene promotes health, fosters hope, and restores dignity to those who may have lost it.”
Shower to the People also employs former homeless to make soap through its program called Raise the Bar. The soap bars are given out to people on the streets and also sold to help fund the program. Stay tuned for more big things from Shower to the People; Austin hopes to expand to more U.S. cities soon.