We did it! After 18 months of planning, fundraising and training, Marin Mobile Care The Showers program has begun. Two weeks in, we’ve learned a lot, and the rewards are heartwarming. One of our goals in providing showers to our unsheltered neighbors is the opportunity to bring them into the system, provide them services and perhaps join the Downtown Streets Team as a path out of homelessness.
Little did we know that would happen from the start.
“It makes me feel re-energized and puts me in a better mood!” exclaimed our first shower guest as he exited the trailer with freshly shaven, rosy cheeks. “I can go into the coffee shop, now, without someone thinking I smell bad.”
He came to his first Downtown Streets Team meeting after that shower and has joined the waitlist. We can’t wait to see him on the team!
“I can go into the coffee shop, now, without someone thinking I smell bad.”
As with any new venture, our first few weeks have had it’s mechanical challenges.
We arrived at the Novato Streets Team office in the wee hours on Monday, February 26, greeted by early morning rain. We set up the trailer, started heating the water, pulled out our clean towels and EO shampoos, all going as we had practiced. We expected our launch would be “showered” with both challenges and successes. It was.
While there was a torrential downpour outside, inside the shower water refused to get hot. Trouble with the propane? No problem! Fixed.
The dash lights on the truck went out, signaling a fuse problem, but a trip to Spectrum Automotive (thank you) turned up a failing alternator.
At some point, the tow ball stuck in the hitch, and as we tried to separate them it started to hail. Yes, hail. We grabbed an umbrella and used the age-old solution of jumping on the tailgate to loosen the hitch. That worked.
When the water backed up into the showers, we only slightly panicked. When we opened the door, we expected to see fish rushing out with all the water. Note to selves: don’t forget to dump the gray water. And a few days later when the hot water line behind one of the showers sprung a leak, Baswell Plumbing saved the day!
We learned from these experiences so if they happen again, the response can be “no problem, we got this.” But these minor challenges couldn’t dim the success of serving hot showers to our unsheltered neighbors. Seeing how a warm shower, clean teeth, and fresh socks can change someone’s outlook makes it all worthwhile.