Showered With Love’s three-stall mobile hygiene trailer — the first of its kind in Colorado Springs — will begin providing showers to the homeless in early September.
The new nonprofit eventually plans to haul the trailer across the city, but for now it will remain outside The Salvation Army’s R.J. Montgomery shelter at 709 S. Sierra Madre St.
The two organizations are partnering on the project, which comes as the city grapples with how to respond to campers living along creek beds across the city, raising hygiene concerns.
The trailer’s schedule hasn’t yet been determined, but it will be open a few days a week to people not staying at the shelter, said Jeane Turner, a Salvation Army spokeswoman. The shelter already has 16 showers for people staying there — eight for men and eight for women.
“I mean, everyone feels better after a shower, right?” said Miriam Neel, the nonprofit’s vice chairwoman. “Our mission is to provide people with a sense of dignity and hope by providing them with the resources for self-care.
“When you’re in that situation and you don’t have a place to rest your head or know where your next meal is coming from, the last thing you want to think of is, ‘Oh gosh, does my hair smell?’ This is just one way for them to feel like people again.”
The trailer also could be used in disaster situations, Turner said.
Kelly Terrien, founder of Showered With Love, said she identified showers as a need in the community after consulting with other organizations working with the homeless.
“You can look around and see the number of people who don’t have homes in Colorado Springs, and that’s growing on a yearly basis,” said Terrien, a local business owner and veteran of the Air Force and the Army reserves.
In 2001, she founded Summit Technical Solutions, which does government contract work.
Terrien donated the trailer, which cost about $50,000, Turner said. The nonprofit now is working to raise another $150,000 — one of the first priorities is purchasing an F-250 truck to haul the trailer around town, but they’re also hoping to purchase additional trailers.
Showers have long been a pressing need in Colorado Springs’ homeless community. Before the first phase of Springs Rescue Mission’s much-anticipated homeless day center opened in April 2017, Ecumenical Social Ministries’ two showers were all that most people living on the streets could access.
“We always try to meet the needs of the community wherever we’re located, but this is a need that’s just almost in every single community,” said Capt. Erin Kauffman, the Salvation Army’s county coordinator. “With the homeless, our goal is always trying to help them live independently, whether it’s work training, sheltering, transitional living. … (The trailer) could be a point for them to come in contact and begin the conversation, ‘Hey, how can we help you even more?’”
Donated hygiene products, which the nonprofit will provide to people using the trailer, can be brought to The Salvation Army, 709 S. Sierra Madre St.