Mobile Shower Unit Funded to Support Berks County Homeless

Grants

READING, PA — Senator Judy Schwank has announced that the Berks Coalition to End Homelessness (BCEH) will receive $250,000 in grant funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a new mobile shower unit. This initiative aims to provide basic hygiene services to homeless individuals in Berks County.

Grant Allocation and Project Details

The grant will cover the cost of a three-stall shower unit, a truck to transport it, a garage for storage, and essential start-up supplies like propane and towels. The mobile shower will operate on a rotating schedule, providing access at various points throughout the community.

Trinity Lutheran Church is collaborating on this project by establishing a 501(c)(3) named REFRESH! BERKS. This organization will manage the unit and ensure its sustainability, offering a reliable way for homeless individuals to maintain their hygiene.

Community Impact

Senator Schwank emphasized the importance of this initiative. “Providing access to basic hygiene for homeless individuals with this mobile shower unit is a vital and forward-thinking step. This model has been successful in other areas of the country, and I know this service will help people in our community feel confident as they work towards a brighter future. I’m proud to secure this funding for Reading and Berks County and believe this investment will make a positive impact in the lives of many.”

BCEH Executive Director Jack Williams echoed this sentiment, highlighting the broader significance of the mobile shower unit. “We believe that this service is more than just a necessity; it’s a symbol of dignity, respect, and a fresh start. Through REFRESH! BERKS, we hope to instill a renewed sense of hope and purpose in the lives of those we serve. We cannot wait to bring this much-needed service to Berks County.”

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Addressing Homelessness in Berks County

BCEH plays a crucial role in addressing homelessness through its Continuum of Care program. This program coordinates various community efforts, including housing and services systems. BCEH’s initiatives include a security deposit assistance program, a coordinated entry system, and a safe parking lot initiative for individuals living in their vehicles.

The introduction of a mobile shower unit is part of a best practice approach to meeting the needs of homeless individuals. Once operational, this will be only the second mobile shower unit in Pennsylvania. The unit is expected to be ready for use by early 2025, following equipment procurement and staff training.

Empowering the Homeless through Community Partnerships

This project represents a significant step forward in providing essential services to the homeless population. Access to hygiene facilities can dramatically improve the quality of life for individuals experiencing homelessness, offering them a sense of dignity and well-being. It also helps them gain the confidence needed to pursue employment and housing opportunities.

The collaboration between BCEH, Trinity Lutheran Church, and West Lawn United Methodist Church demonstrates the power of community partnerships in addressing complex social issues. By pooling resources and expertise, these organizations are creating a sustainable solution that can serve as a model for other communities.

Transforming Lives

The $250,000 grant for a mobile shower unit marks a notable development in Berks County’s efforts to support its homeless population. With the combined efforts of local organizations and the community, this initiative promises to provide much-needed relief and hope to those in need. As the project moves forward, it holds the potential to transform lives and improve the overall health and safety of the community.

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