For homeless people, living without access to showers and bathrooms can be one of the most difficult things about life on the streets. For homeless residents of Santa Rosa, California, life is about to get a bit easier thanks to volunteers with a group called Catholic Charities.
The group will buy and operate a trailer that will house restrooms and showers for people who can’t find them anywhere else. The city of Santa Rosa will also be donating $87,450 to the program.
“This program is going to give hope and belief to people that they can make it,” one homeless man told reporters this week.
Leah Filler, a woman who works with a similar homeless charity called Lava Mae told HuffPost Live that “hygiene is a major, major barrier” that homeless people face when seeking housing or employment.
“Lack of hygiene makes members of the general public look at those experiencing homelessness like they are ‘less than’ or ‘other,’ when in fact, they are just like any one of us, just trying our best to survive,” she said.
LavaMae turns old buses into showers for homeless people and have recently been active in many cities throughout California.
“This is one piece of a larger puzzle of connecting people to vital services they so need and deserve,” Mayor John Sawyer told The Press Democrat.
This new program is a welcome departure from the current policy of criminalizing homelessness that is taking place across the country. Legislators do not come right out and ban homelessness, but instead, they ban people from camping in urban areas, or make it illegal to feed people without a permit. Urinating in public is another thing that can get a homeless person thrown in jail, even though they don’t have any other choice.
It was recently reported that politicians in Los Angeles are seeking to ban homeless people from sleeping in their cars, and even RV’s.
As we reported late last year, Florida police arrested a group of charity workers for breaking a newly-imposed law against feeding the homeless. Among those charged was a 90-year-old homeless advocate.