The Shower Truck

The Shower Truck

Our Flagship program is our Mobile Shower Truck, a converted box truck built to provide showers and hygiene products to members of our local homeless population where they are. Our hope with this project is to Restore Dignity to those we serve who may have lost it. We know that when you get out of a hot shower you feel like a million bucks, and that's something we want our friends on the streets to experience. A shower can give you a sense of normalcy, foster a little hope, and build towards better health.

We also aim to use our truck as a connection point for other services. Through our developing Referral Network, we hope to help assess the needs of those we encounter and successfully direct them to services that provide to those needs. After all, our end goal is the resolution of homelessness in our communities, not simply to enable those who are experiencing homelessness to be cleaner.

How did it begin?

In December 2014, founder Jake Austin began with the realization that those on the streets he had been serving with hygiene supplies including soap, shampoo and body wash were without access to a shower in which to use those supplies. Shortly after becoming aware of this problem, Jake thought to himself, "If we can put a kitchen on a truck (for food trucks), why not a shower?". At that point, Jake began researching the possibilities of making a mobile shower service possible.

By the end of January 2015 a plan had been made, $5,000 had been raised, a truck had been purchased and Shower To The People was on its way. Over the following year, Jake and his supporters spoke to numerous organizations, acquiring small grants, and donated labor to convert a simple box truck into a fully functional, and welcoming mobile shower unit.

Less than two years after its inception, Shower To The People's "Mobile Shower Truck" is on the road every week providing showers and hygiene services to our friends and neighbors on the streets of St. Louis.

How Does it work?

The truck will schedule visits and arrive at places where those experiencing homelessness in St. Louis are gathered (cooling shelters, food banks, clothing distributions, etc). Once arriving, set up begins. Shower To The People staff and volunteers begin setting up the hygiene table which provides handouts of soap, shampoo, conditioner, deoderant, feminine hygiene supplies, dental hygiene supplies, etc). At the same time, the truck's plumbing is attached to the closest fire hydrant using the tools provided to Shower To The People by the city, and a hose is ran to the nearest storm drain for grey water disposal. The generator on the truck is started to power the air conditioner, lights, and on-demand hot water heater.

NOTE: St. Louis has provided license and a meter to Shower To The People so that we can both use the city's fire hydrants and pay for the water usage. Also, St. Louis has what is called a "combined sewer system" that processes both storm water and grey water in the same system, allowing for grey water disposal through the storm drains.

Once the truck is set up and the hygiene table is prepared, those looking to shower take a number and wait for their turn to take a shower. Inside the truck, there are two shower stalls available for use. Two by two, those we serve begin to take turns in the shower, timed at roughly 8 minutes per person. Throughout our time in each place, we average between 14 and 16 showers an hour, and in 8 hour day can provide up to 50 showers.

Once we've finished, everything is packed up, and any trash that has accumulated throughout the day is picked up and taken to a dumpster to insure that nothing is left behind.

We're currently putting together a regular schedule and map of our locations. In the meantime, send any questions you have to [email protected]