House of Hope CDC, Team Williams, LLC. , and City of Providence have partnered to provide support for Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness with showers and essential services
April 17, 2018
PROVIDENCE, RI – Team Williams, LLC. (founding benefactor of Shower to Empower), Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, members of the Providence City Council and House of Hope Community Development Corporation, today announced that they are partnering to launch the state’s first mobile navigation unit. The Shower to Empower mobile unit will be staffed by outreach case managers and offer complimentary showers to Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness. In addition, there will be medical navigation services, haircuts, and other assistance to help restore dignity to those in need.
“We are very excited to add the mobile shower unit to complement our outreach team efforts,” House of Hope CDC Executive Director Laura Jaworski said. “It remains our mission to prevent and end homelessness in Rhode Island, but also the personal and social trauma of homelessness.” Jaworski added, “The Shower to Empower mobile outreach unit is an innovative tool to engage with individuals experiencing homelessness, begin the process of delivering high quality case management services, and ultimately obtaining safe, affordable housing.”
Shower to Empower will be operated by the Warwick based non-profit House of Hope CDC, which will provide the staffing and oversee the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the unit. The purchase of the mobile unit was made possible thanks to a generous gift from the Team Williams, LLC.
“This is a project that I am extremely passionate about as it will have a direct impact on thousands of our fellow Rhode Island neighbors who are truly struggling,” said Team Williams, LLC. President Bret Williams. “At a very young age, I was in a shelter and if it were not for my parents who adopted me, I am not sure how life would have turned out. It is our goal to provide basic hygiene needs and assistance to better their situations and that of their families. There is no program offering all of these services in the United States, let alone in Rhode Island,” added Williams.
The City also allocated Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund staffing support. In December 2017, HUD released its annual Point in Time survey, which reported the homeless population in Rhode Island increased nearly 2 percent – that approximately 1,180 Rhode Islanders access emergency shelter or sleep outdoors, in places not meant for human habitation.
“If you’re experiencing homelessness and want to get back on your feet, we want you to know that the Shower to Empower mobile unit is here to help,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “By offering essential everyday services such as showers and haircuts, we will connect those in need with mental health, substance abuse, workforce, and housing specialists. This is another way we’re supporting marginalized members of our communities with creative, collaborative and compassionate solutions.”
In January 2017, the City selected House of Hope CDC to serve as the operator of the Providence Navigation Center, a proposed open-access daytime program for individuals experiencing homelessness. It was determined that no single site could meet the need of all providers and constituents.
A creative solution was sought and resulted in the envisioning of a mobile unit that could offer services and meet people directly where they are. With Team Williams’ interest in creating a customized mobile shower unit to serve Rhode Islanders in need, the concept became a reality.
“So many of us take showering for granted; it’s a basic necessity that we suppose everyone has access to,” stated Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11). “Unfortunately not everyone does, and by providing those that are in need of these basic services like a shower or a haircut, we are showing that we care and that we believe that every person is deserving of these necessities. I’m grateful to Shower to Empower for bringing this service to those that need it.”
The Shower to Empower unit is a customized 20’ x 8.3’ unit purchased from Rich Trailers in Indiana that includes two individual showers, heated floors, an area for haircuts and an enclosed private medical space. For the first year of operation, the mobile unit will travel throughout the Providence area supporting those in need. The unit’s first designated stop is 59 Central Street in Providence, where services will be provided on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00AM to 11:00AM beginning April 18. Showers will begin at 9:00AM and haircuts will begin at 10:00AM. Details for stops on Tuesday and Thursday are forthcoming.
About House of Hope Community Development Corporation:
House of Hope CDC is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 in Warwick, Rhode Island, with a mission to prevent and end homelessness in the state and end the personal and social trauma of homelessness. We create affordable housing delivered with life changing services and work with other advocates for policies to ensure that everyone can have a safe, stable home. In 2016, we provided services to 1,099 individuals experiencing homelessness across Rhode Island, and support approximately 110 in housing during any given month. Our team of exceptional case managers provide a host of supportive services to assist our constituents in securing income, health insurance, and most importantly, permanent housing.
About Team Williams, LLC:
Team Williams, LLC is owned and operated by Bret Williams, a local entrepreneur who lives in Narragansett, R.I and graduated from the University of Rhode Island. Williams served as President and CEO of Woodchuck Cider until 2012. Team Williams, LLC., focuses on local philanthropic efforts including House of Hope CDC, Habitat for Humanity, Adoption Rhode Island, as well as up and coming companies.