A couple of months back, we told you about a local organization working to address one piece of the local homeless puzzle.
"Hope's Village of SLO" had raised more than $30-thousand to buy a mobile shower trailer that would visit homeless encampments and offer basic hygiene to folks living on the streets.
But, the City of San Luis Obispo had some health concerns and barred the trailer staging in local parks.
We checked in to see how the project is coming along, and we can report the two parties seem to have found a compromise.
So far, more than 80 homeless people have visited the mobile facility, cleaning up on Tuesdays and Saturdays at two locations on opposite sides of the city.
"The first couple of shifts, we had to shuttle people in from downtown," explains Hope's Village of SLO volunteer, David Gross. "But now, people are coming to us. So, pretty much all of our clientele are walk-in at this point."
Gross says between the SLO County Health Department's clinic on Johnson Avenue and the United Church of Christ location on Los Osos Valley Road, they're off to a good start.
"I think the city had some misunderstandings about our project," he says. "They thought that we would, for instance, have a lot of waste disposal problems or would use a lot of city resources. In fact, the trailer is completely self-contained. We have waste tanks on board, we have a water tank on-board, we operate off a battery."
The project is called "Showers of Hope." But when homeless folks show up at the trailer, there's a lot more than just soap and hot water awaiting them.
"Clean clothes and toiletries they can take with them, some food if they need it,... bottle of water,.. and they get these things and it's like Christmas day. You see their eyes opening wide. They get showered up, they come out. They're completely new people. Sometimes we have a barber on-site so they get a haircut, too. So, it's wonderful to see the before and after, both in the look and in the mood," he says.
David says one individual was so inspired after the chance to bathe, he was contemplating a big step.
"He got his shower. He got a haircut. He got some clean clothes,.. came out,... and then all of a sudden, started talking about maybe trying to get his job back-- going back into architecture. You could see the sort of hope on his face that he didn't have before. It was a wonderful thing to see," he says with a smile.
To learn more about the "Showers of Hope" program and its parent organization, "Hope's Village of SLO" go to http://www.hopesvillageofslo.com/.