'Humanity Showers' Brings Basic Hygiene To San Diego Homeless Communities
Humanity Showers, a North County organization, brings mobile showers to people experiencing homelessness throughout San Diego County.
“This was a place where they felt humanity was being instilled back into them, dignity was being installed back into them,” said Jordan Verdin, the founder of Humanity Showers.
Verdin’s mission is to bring basic hygiene to the homeless community throughout San Diego.
“We believe that every person deserves access to a shower and dignity, no matter what. We do this on the premise that it’s every person’s fundamental human right to have access to showers,’ he said.
Before Verdin designed the shower trailer, he began offering mobile hygiene services in 2014, with mobile sinks, jerry cans, and wet wipes. In 2019, Verdin acquired his first mobile shower trailer that would offer services once a month in Oceanside.
Verdin said the demand for showers increased when the pandemic shut down many public places. Humanity Showers went from servicing ten guests per event to servicing up to 50 guests at a time.
Verdin gets help from volunteers, including a man named Irvin, who didn't want to share his last name. Irvin told KPBS he was one of the first people to use the showers when the program started.
“You just feel like a whole different person. You want to live, you want to go out there and start conquering your demons. You just feel better about yourself,” Irvin said.
Humanity Showers now has three mobile shower trailers that travel to six events every week throughout San Diego County and offer an array of resources.
“We offer clothing, we offer barbers, we offer breakfast, we offer multiple resources that are connected to sober living, housing, we work with Vista Community Clinic , we offer tons of resources now,” said Verdin.
Verdin calls these events “mobile navigation centers” that help people experiencing homelessness get connected with support.
They can also get clothing through Humanity Closets, organized by Bianca Lopez. It's one of the newest additions to the shower events.
“When they haven't had pants in a couple of months and this is a brand new pair... it's little things,” Lopez said. “When it fits just perfectly or it matches their eye color or they're trying to get to an interview and they need some interview clothes, that’s completely accessible to them here.”
Lopez is fundraising to make the closet “mobile” to take to all of the shower locations.
All of the funding for the shower trailers has been privately donated. Verdin said he has hesitated to apply for grants because it is proof that all the funding is “from the people to the people.”
But Verdin said community partnerships and collaborations ultimately make the biggest differences.
“It's only going to be when we all come together as a collective, as a community. Then we can start to see some more innovative things happening,” he said.
Dempsey Construction Inc., a Carlsbad construction company, has pledged to help Verdin fund a fourth shower trailer.
Verdin is also collaborating with Lived Experiences to build a mobile laundry trailer, expected to debut next month.