Mobile showers to launch in Burnaby next week
The Society to End Homelessness in Burnaby is launching its mobile showers program with a ribbon cutting on April 19.
A mobile showers program coming to Burnaby will be the first of its kind in Metro Vancouver, according to the proponents behind the program.
Carol-Ann Flanagan, executive director of the Society to End Homelessness in Burnaby, said the group is expected to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the showers on Tuesday, April 19.
Flanagan said the idea of a mobile showers program has been on the group’s radar for “at least three years,” and the idea is finally coming to fruition through a grant from the Union of BC Municipalities.
The grant, she said, is specifically for ideas that are thinking outside of the box—and this particular program did just that, with only a handful of mobile showers available in Western Canada. That includes one in Abbotsford, one in Edmonton, and one in Victoria—but none in Metro Vancouver.
In all, the program got $104,000 in funding, which covered the cost of buying the mobile shower units at $57,000, and more money to operate the showers until the end of July.
The group bought two units on a trailer that’s six feet by 12 feet, meaning each unit is a bit less than six by six in size, with some of the trailers being used to house mechanical equipment.
Each unit comes with a sink, a shower, and a toilet.
The manufacturer, Niu Toilet, also threw in some extra features with the units, including touchless faucets and UV lights for disinfecting the units, at no extra cost.
Flanagan added that a foundation attached to the manufacturer’s parent company, Comac Corporation, also paid for the transportation of the units from their facilities in Quebec to Burnaby.
It’s currently being stored at the Southside Community Church, in the Edmonds area, and it’s expected to run once a week on Thursday mornings.
The timing of the weekly shower program coincides with the weekly Outreach Resource Centre. That means the showers will be paired with services like nurses, mental health care, hot meals, tax help, and housing advocates, among others who provide services at the ORC.
She called the integration of various services in one spat a “dream,” and the addition of the showers only makes it better.
“The ultimate goal is to end homelessness. That’s our ultimate goal, is how do we help our neighbours,” she said.
And giving homeless people a place to shower helps them to take care of themselves, adding a little bit more stability to their lives that could potentially help them get back on their feet.
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