Borough President Eric Adams joined Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and representatives of Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) and Turning Point Brooklyn in Sunset Park on Wednesday, January 17 at 11 a.m. to announce that a mobile shower service for homeless individuals was on its way to the borough within the next year.
The unveiling took place at the Turning Point Education Center, 429 39th Street. The project is an expansion of Turning Point Brooklyn’s “We Care About You” shower project, that has operated out of Sunset Park, which provides users with showers as well as toiletries and clothing.
Adams, who allocated $300,000 for the initiative, discussed the significance of the mobile project given the city’s homeless crisis.
“This bus is going to be a symbol that our homeless men and women will be able to identify as a safe space not only to clean themselves but also to start the process of holding onto their dignity,” he said. “You can’t have a job, you can’t sit in a classroom or get in a train or bus if you can’t deal with your basic hygiene needs. Before discussing the high order items, let’s talk about the basic needs.”
Executive Director of Turning Point Tata Traore-Rogers praised the collaborative project.
“I’m excited to see this happen,” she said. “We found this idea in San Francisco where they have a shower bus called Lava Me. We started talking about the idea. We tried with many donors and these two [Menchaca and Adams] supported us. We are going to them offering these services, hoping it’s just a stepping stone to regaining dignity in their lives.”
Menchaca, who allocated $77,000 to the project, said this bus was a step in the right direction.
“It’s going to show other organizations and neighborhoods how we take care of our own,” he said, “so when we ask people to come forward, immigrants or people that are hungry or need shelter, we do it with pride and they get what they need.
“This unit travels and will continue to travel and we hope the people of Sunset Park and beyond hold it, grow it and expand it with other organizations,” Menchaca added.
Marla Simpson, president of BCS, which is over 150 years old, also expressed her excitement.
“We are proud of this project,” she said. “Thanks to Borough President Adams not only for his dedication to this important project but for the work he’s doing here in one Brooklyn community. We welcome our neighbors and try to meet their needs and include them in our community.”
Although the mobile unit is currently slated to be completed within a year, the BP will lobby for it to operate sooner.
“We need to shorten that period,” Adams said. “We are really asking the New York City Department of Design and Construction to expedite it. There’s no reason we can’t get this bus rolling within the next couple of months so we can let people know help is on the way. We will reach out to the mayor’s office and say we need to put this on the fast track.”
Once in operation, the mobile shower will target those locations where homeless people can be found, such as food pantries, hospitals, and places where they seek some type of basic shelter.