Shower to Empower is a one-of-a-kind mobile service, offering basic needs such as complimentary showers and haircuts. We also offer on-site case management and medical services to those experiencing homelessness.
Providing the most basic human needs, we aim to restore dignity to Rhode Island’s homeless community.
Shower to Empower is a mobile navigation unit operated and funded through a partnership between the House of Hope Community Development Corporation (House of Hope CDC), Team Williams, LLC, and the City of Providence.
Medical Navigation Services
Shower to Empower provides showers, haircuts, medical services, and case management to those in need. This allows House of Hope CDC outreach workers to further engage with individuals in need.
Many services and referrals are provided on the spot during outreach, others will require a sit-down follow-up meeting, including applying for housing, employment, and social security benefits. Similarly, while the medical providers (a family nurse practitioner and psychiatrist) who do outreach with the House of Hope CDC are able to provide some care literally on the street, this support realistically requires a secure and confidential space.
The unit is a customized 20’ x 8.3’ trailer that includes two individual showers, heated floors, an area for case management, and an enclosed private medical space. The mobile unit is located in Providence alongside House of Hope CDC’s street outreach team providing hot showers, haircuts, case management, and medical navigation services to individuals experiencing homelessness.
Drawing on a strong network of existing partnerships with Providence based social service providers, Hope of Hope CDC will operate Shower to Empower as an innovative tool to engage with an otherwise disconnected population.
Through ongoing partnerships with Alpert Medical School of Brown University, the Rhode Island College School of Social Work, and the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing to incorporate students into Shower to Empower. Students work on interdisciplinary teams with House of Hope CDC’s case managers to support individuals in navigating the healthcare system and addressing complex healthcare needs.
Across the country, mobile units focused on both hygiene and medical services for homeless individuals have proven a successful mode of engagement particularly for individuals who are intimidated by traditional shelter and health care systems, or have experienced abuse. Organizations such as Oregon Harbor of Hope, Shower to the People, Dignity on Wheels, Live Fresh, and Lava Mae all focus on restoring dignity to those experiencing street homelessness through hygiene and personal care services with mobile shower and laundry RVs and buses.
As we found through our own search for a location, transportation is a serious issue that remains unsolved with any permanent space. Having a mobile unit with basic necessities that can complement House of Hope CDC’s street outreach team and serve people where they are will be extremely beneficial in bringing more people into contact with case management and medical care services.
With 1,180 individuals experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island on any given night, Shower to Empower serves some of the hardest to reach populations that are living on the streets of Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket. The ongoing challenges of connecting those who are disconnected required a solution that is creative collaborative, and compassionate.
Bret Williams from Team Williams, LLC, was inspired by a series of firsthand video accounts of the impact a shower and haircut offers to those in need and was moved to see this implemented to those in need in his home state of Rhode Island. After talking to various non-profits on the issues of homelessness, the idea of a mobile unit came after a visit to Rich Trailers, a custom trailer manufacturer based in Indiana. After spending a night shadowing the outreach team at House of Hope CDC, the idea of a mobile unit began to take shape. An opportunity to collaborate with the City of Providence evolved and Shower to Empower became a reality.