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There are so many things that most people take for granted which are rarities for the homeless population. Access to shower or clean clothes is high among them.
However, organizations are looking at ways to bring these services to those in need, and two can be found in the metro area. And both are outside off Mean Street Ministry on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 30. On this particular morning, the trailers are helping volunteers make their annual point-in-time survey of the homeless.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, which straddles the Wheat Ridge, Lakewood border, launched its Living Well Shower trailer to provide showers to homeless individuals as part of it’s The Table program, and is looking to bring the trailer and it’s four showers to other locations.
“We hear from people that they’re embarrassed because of how they smell and how dirty they feel,” said Jennifer Leasure, who helps run the Living Well trailer. “We’ve heard from some people that it’s been five or six days since their last shower, but we’ve had another who said it’d been 73 days.”
Use of trailer is free for the homeless, and all the towels, toiletries and other necessities are donated.
So far, the trailer is at Bethlehem Lutheran and Mean Street once a week, but Leasure said the church is eager to bring the trailer to other community partners in Jefferson County.
Those looking to wash their clothes can make use of Bayaud Enterprises’ Laundry Truck, which travels around the metro area, offering free laundry services. It takes about two hours for a load to be washed and dried, but the line backs up when there’s a crowds all waiting for the same drying machine.
“We try to go to places where there are camps, or we know a lot of people gather and could use these services,” said James Pullen, a driver and operator of the truck. “Everywhere we go, people are really excited about this idea and how it can help people.”
For both organizations, as well as most groups working to assist the homeless, one of the biggest problems is lack of funding and volunteers.
“There are all these negative perceptions about the homeless,” Pullen said. “But doing the kind of work I do, you get to see the human side of them. They’re baristas, soccer moms, just everyday people.”
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