Proper hygiene and access to amenities that facilitate good hygiene are a basic necessity, as well as restore self-confidence and dignity. Today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, to expand a mobile showers pilot program currently running at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area and East Pasadena.
“Providing access to a shower to someone who doesn’t have access to one often can help on a job interview. For children, a shower is often the difference between going to school or not,” said Supervisor Solis. “Above all, every week this program demonstrates that people are regaining their self-confidence and dignity – even if they are experiencing homelessness. Expanding this mobile showers program to other areas will give more people this same opportunity.”
“The goal of engagement tools like mobile showers is to link individuals to housing and supportive services,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “Being able to address their hygiene needs and restore their sense of dignity often leads to transformation and a break in the cycle of homelessness.”
In February 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion authored by Supervisor Solis to establish this mobile shower pilot program. In addition to mobile showers, individuals are offered wraparound County and non-profit services and resources, including hot meals, health screenings, and criminal expungement assistance. Since this program began in Whittier Narrows, more than 100 individuals on average utilize these services every week, including up to 35 people who use the mobile showers.
Today’s action asks the County Chief Executive Office to make one or more of its mobile shower trailers, which were purchased for use in case of emergencies, available to properly-trained homeless service providers. The CEO will work with LAHSA to determine appropriate locations for these trailers, and coordinate with Metro to determine the feasibility of placing mobile showers near Metro stations with an identifiable need. These mobile showers will be provided to service providers at no cost, and the County may utilize up to $200,000 from Homeless Initiative funding to support the operation of these mobile shower trailers.
“We applaud Supervisor Solis and the Board of Supervisors for their leadership on increasing access to hygiene for our unhoused neighbors, and for making it a priority to bring mobile hygiene to help people experiencing homelessness rekindle dignity, restore hope and unlock opportunity,” said Paul Asplund, Lava Mae Director of Partnerships and Development. Lava Mae provides mobile showers every Thursday at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.
Today’s action also directs the County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Parks Sheriff Bureau to identify County parks and recreational facilities that have existing and unutilized showers, and report back to the Board within 30 days with recommendations to pilot a program that makes these showers available to people experiencing homelessness.
Michael Kapp, Communications Director, (213) 974-4111 or firstname.lastname@example.org