City to purchase mobile shower for homeless

Expected arrival by April 2020

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council approved the purchase Thursday of a mobile shower trailer to help with homeless outreach.

The three-stall shower unit will be used to provide showers three days a week to homeless people at Christian Assistance Ministry.

Department of Human Services Director Melody Woosley said the trailer could be used for emergencies, moved for events like the the annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, or even brought to homeless encampments.

“While we’re working with them, the showers are certainly something that would be very helpful,” Woosley said, “Not just to them, but it also helps us build trust. It helps us offer something that they really want and need. And, you know, hopefully that leads to a longer relationship and a higher quality of life.”

The trailer is expected to be operational by April.

District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino initiated the conversation about mobile showers back in 2018.

“I hope to look at opportunities to buy more of these and deploy them where the need requires us to deploy them,” Trevino said before Thursday’s vote.

In the meantime, the city has already been running a pilot program at CAM on McCullough Avenue with CAM volunteers and a part-time city employee using a shower unit loaned by Baptist Children & Family Services.

The program, which opens the showers for two hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings, provided 1,407 showers to 404 people from July through December 2019.

CAM President & CEO Dawn White-Fosdick praised the pilot program’s success to council members.

“Not only would the clients be clean on the outside, there was a visible difference in their demeanor and their attitude from the inside as well as the outside,” Fosdick said.

The new $58,583 shower trailer will be paid for with DHS funds and City Council Project Funds from eight council districts and the mayor’s office. District 3 and District 10 were the only two not to contribute project funds.

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry was the lone vote against the purchase of the trailer. Perry said he was supportive of non-profit groups purchasing that type of equipment, but not the city.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.