Think Dignity Mobile Showers Program: Why does San Diego Need a Mobile Showers Program?
This program will impact both the unhoused and housed in the communities it serves as the condition of homeless individuals improves. Homeless individuals will improve their opportunities to gain or retain employment. Public streets in the areas will be more sanitary and the local business climate will improve.
There are not enough shower facilities available for the thousands of unsheltered San Diegan's. Being unclean causes health issues, is a barrier to finding employment and transitioning out of homelessness, and impacts self-esteem and mental health. Personal hygiene is a basic dignity issue core to the mission of Think Dignity. Having access to showers and restrooms has been deemed a human right by the part of basic human dignity, and shouldn’t be a luxury. With access to these services, individuals living on the streets are better able to stay healthy and clean, and are thus more likely to obtain job interviews, gain and maintain employment, and access the services they need to get off the streets.
For someone living on the street, access to a shower is not only a matter of basic dignity, but a matter of physical and mental health. Lack of regular hygiene places an individual at risk for lice, eye infections, scabies, worms, foot fungus, chronic diarrhea and other health issues. Without access to a shower, an individual cannot get a job, attend school, or easily transition from the streets into housing. Being unclean causes personal discomfort, affects self-esteem, and compounds any mental health challenges. It is an affront to a person’s basic dignity.
According to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness 2015 Point in Time Count, there are 8,742 homeless individuals in San Diego County, 4,156 of whom are unsheltered and living on the streets of our neighborhoods. For the ~1,200 unsheltered individuals not staying in a shelter downtown there are only 2 locations with day showers. Most other San Diego neighborhoods lack any shower facilities.