Austin found a used truck and began outfitting its interior with shower stalls, sinks, and privacy curtains for dressing. An additional row of sinks outside will let more people wash their faces and brush their teeth. A local pipefitters union installed the truck’s plumbing, a linen service has volunteered to launder towels, and an RV center donated finishing work.
“Clean people are happier, healthier, and more hopeful,” Austin says. “When you step out of the shower, you feel like a million bucks.” (Similarly, Lava Mae in San Francisco was posted last October http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2015/10/san-francisco-has-about-6500-homeless.html )
Handing out hygiene supplies to the homeless, a man thanked him for a bar of soap, then asked him where he could use it. Austin realized even with food and clean clothes, a person who hadn’t bathed in months would never land a job.
He created “Shower to the People,” a non-profit to provide hot showers to people living on the streets of St. Louis. The group’s logo hearkens back to the 60s, but with a twist— a fist is thrust into the air, clutching a bar of soap.
His friend Collin Loveless did marketing and designed the Shower to the People logo — a red, upraised fist holding a bar of soap. Loveless, who was passionate about working with the homeless, was killed by a drunken driver at Interstate 170 and Delmar Boulevard a year ago. Austin wants “In memory of Collin Loveless” written somewhere on the truck. He’s looking for someone to wrap the bold red graphics on the side panels, and make the truck look professional yet approachable and fun.
While people gather to get a shower, Austin wants to reach out and find out more about them, and connect them with other services available in the area. He also wants to gather demographic information to help advocates come up with new ways to help.