WLRN in Miami
It’s Sunday morning in Miami – and it’s hot!! And WLRN, our public broadcasting station, is here to get the story!! The people in that area who are experiencing homelessness are starting to gather. “The bus is coming; the bus is coming!” Excitement starts to build!
The bus, named Grace, is a fully self-contained, converted Miami city bus. Instead of seats, it now has 2 complete shower suites – one of which is ADA compliant! Plus, there’s a handicap lift on the side, so it is wheelchair accessible!! It’s truly one-of-a-kind!
Listen to the part one of the story here.
Listen to part 2 of the story here.
Showering Love Comes Through
The people start to line up – they know the drill and what is expected of them, even though WLRN is videoing them!! Often there is also a barber, food, clothing, and health checks.
This operation is the brainchild of Jeanne Lewis Albaugh, CEO of Showering Love. And WLRN wants to write the story! She was once homeless herself and knows what it feels like to lack the dignity of a shower! So, four years ago, she started talking about this dream of hers to bring showers to the homeless. Her friends joined in and together they raised the needed capital to purchase and retrofit the bus!! Her friend Rowdy Gifford engineered the plumbing and the layout. And, now, here it is – she dubbed the bus Grace, because we all need some grace in our lives.
One guest remarks, “That hot water feels so good!” Each guest receives new underwear, t-shirt, socks and walks out with a hygiene bag to help them stay fresh till their next chance to bathe. Often, they don’t know when that will be! Another guest, a lady who is 5 months pregnant, said she had missed her opportunity to shower at Camillus House and hadn’t had one in 3 days.
Lives Are Changed
In South Florida there are no permanent, indoor showers for the homeless population. They can shower outdoors at the beach if they can get there – which often, they can’t!! And so, they can frequently go for days, or even weeks without the dignity of a shower!! The very first guest who showered in Grace, couldn’t remember when he’d showered – it had been years! That was because he was wheelchair bound, and the shelters available to him didn’t have wheelchair access!
Because Grace is full self-contained – requiring no outside source for water or electricity – she can go wherever she is needed! So far, Showering Love has provided over 8,000 showers to people all over South Florida. It costs $1,000 to set up the bus for a few hours, and that doesn’t even include maintenance and upkeep!
We want to thank Nadege Green, from WLRN, for coming out to interview our guests and write this story. She saw that when those guests come off the bus, with fresh clothing and damp hair, all smiles and heads held high, it’s totally worth it!! Jeanne smiles and says,” You look great!! How do you feel?!” We know how they feel. They’ve been “Showered by Grace”.