On Thursday, October 18, 2018, Showering Love participated in the Miami Community Homeless Stand Down that was sponsored by the City of Miami, Miami VA Healthcare and Miami’s Office of Veteran Affairs. Numerous organizations came out to support the Stand Down. Larkin Hospital provided medical support; Florida Barber College provided haircuts; Miami VA Healthcare System was on-site to connect Veterans to critical support; WCU Nursing in Miami had a team of nurses providing assistance; City of Miami Homeless Outreach employees provided staffing support; and, T-Mobile was there to help connect those experiencing homelessness with resources. Showering Love was honored to be a part of the Community and Veteran Homeless Stand Down’s in the tri-county area.
Homeless Stand Down
A Stand Down is where people who are experiencing homelessness have the opportunity to find a myriad of solutions to their current situations. During the Miami Community Homeless Stand Down, individuals were able to find housing solutions as well as obtain identification, social security cards and access to immediate medical needs. Showering Love, of course, provided rejuvenating showers and gave out additional information on upcoming events where our guests could obtain healthy meals, clothing, and a hot shower.
Miami Community Homeless Offered Hope
Access to services and opportunities is one of the biggest obstacles people experiencing homelessness face. Our guests tell Showering Love often that without access to showers it is difficult to find employment and to feel good about themselves. Without employment, many people remain homeless and they feel hopeless. Showering Love not only provides a shower, but we also offer hope to the most vulnerable in the Miami community.
During the Miami Community and Veteran Stand Down, one our guests was Flossy. Flossy, 78, has been living on the streets for over 10 years and told us that it had been more than 2 weeks since she was last able to take a shower. A City of Miami Social Worker brought Flossy over to the bus and through a lot of encouragement, she finally decided to step up on Grace to wash away some of that shame that was preventing her from even wanting to take a shower. Grace, ever so accommodating, gave Flossy as much time as she needed to take her shower. When Flossy emerged, she stood a little taller and you could see the smile and the glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Another guest, Jonathan, who is an Army Veteran, has been without a stable place to live for over 2 years. Jonathan told us that he usually only is able to shower maybe once a week and even then he said it is in a place where he doesn’t feel safe. While waiting to take a shower, Jonathan shared that he struggles to keep hope in a community that shuns him for being homeless. He said, “I have served my country with honor and it feels as though my country isn’t serving me.” Jonathan added, “I am grateful to services like Showering Love that help us in the community that struggle for places to get clean.” Jonathan heads out each day looking for work and an opportunity to find housing again. When Jonathan emerged from the shower, he came out with the biggest smile and said, “WOW.”
We asked him how he felt and all he could do was smile. Another guest was waiting to shower and asked Jonathan was it worth it. Jonathan let the person know that it was the best shower he has had in years. Just like Flossy, Jonathan experienced an amazing shower and you could see the hope in his eyes as he walked away looking for work.