Santa Rosa on Friday showed off the shiny new bathroom trailer it purchased as part of a program to bring sanitary services to the homeless.
The portable shower and bathroom will begin operating in various locations around the city next week, giving people who need it a hot shower and a chance to learn more about ways they can get off the streets and into permanent housing.
“This is one piece of a larger puzzle of connecting people to vital services they so need and deserve,” Mayor John Sawyer said.
He praised the city, which began discussing the purchase of the trailer eight months ago, as working at “hyper-speed” to get the trailer up and running.
The city last year authorized spending up to $87,450 to allow Catholic Charities to buy and operate the trailer for a year as part of its expanded Homeless Outreach Services Team.
The trailer, which is towed by a pickup, has two bathrooms, each of which has a private toilet, sink and shower. It can provide up to 30 hot, 10-minute showers before it needs to be refilled.
The thought is that by providing this needed service to homeless residents, social workers can talk to people, find out what they need and get them connected to other services, especially housing. A related goal on the city’s part is to reduce the pollution that occurs to local waterways from encampments that have no facilities.
Rodney Hill, who was homeless for years until he got clean and employed with Catholic Charities, will drive the trailer to various locations in the city.
He teared up Friday describing the new lease on life that the housing and job have provided him.
“This program is going to give hope and belief to people that they can make it,” Hill, 51, said.
The trailer will be at four locations in the city beginning the week of Feb. 14: Tuesdays at Doyle Park, Thursdays at Youth Community Park and Saturdays at City Hall, all from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Organizers also plan to operate at Roseland Village at dates and times to be determined, said Jennielynn Holmes-Davis, director of shelter and housing at Catholic Charities.
The locations were determined by working with city officials and by the goal of trying to spread the services to different parts of the city, Holmes-Davis said.
Asked about Holmes-Davis’ desire to expand the fleet to more than one trailer, Councilman Gary Wysocky said he could get behind that.
“If we can provide people with dignity and help them into housing, then I definitely think we should look at it,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @srcitybeat.