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In Bellingham, homeless can now receive ‘much-needed basic dignity of a hot shower’

Lighthouse Mission Ministries launched its mobile shower trailer Wednesday to provide showers to the homeless in Bellingham. The effort is called Shower Connect.
Lighthouse Mission Ministries launched its mobile shower trailer Wednesday to provide showers to the homeless in Bellingham. The effort is called Shower Connect. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A new mobile trailer is bringing showers to the homeless in Bellingham, thanks to Lighthouse Mission Ministries.

The Christian-based organization launched the effort Wednesday via its Shower Connect, which has a trailer with two separate showers. Each unit also has a sink and a toilet.

“Access to warm showers and restrooms is essential to a person’s dignity and, when associated with wrap-around support services, can inspire life transformation,” said Hans Erchinger-Davis, executive director of Lighthouse Mission Ministries, in a news release Wednesday.

Lighthouse Mission provides services to the homeless at its campus on West Holly Street, including a temporary emergency shelter.

The trailer, which will be available on a sign-up basis, will provide showers on Wednesdays in the organization’s parking lot off Holly Street. It will supplement other showers already provided at Lighthouse Mission.

Lighthouse Mission also wants to work with other churches and businesses, in areas where there are homeless people, to bring the shower trailer to them on Saturdays. That would begin in January.

Churches will help run the showers.

Hygiene items, feminine hygiene products, towels and clean clothing also will be given out as needed, Lighthouse Mission said.

Erchinger-Davis said Shower Connect is similar to Lighthouse Mission’s Street Connect program that began in summer.

The idea of both is to go to the homeless — to offer help and services, and to build relationships.

“Through Street Connect, our street outreach van that brings food, water and relationship, we go wherever the people are,” Erchinger-Davis said. “Similarly, Shower Connect is set up to offer the much-needed basic dignity of a hot shower and a point of relational connection.”

Lighthouse Mission is looking for volunteers to help with Shower Connect beginning in January.

Volunteer by going online to thelighthousemission.org and clicking on “How to Help.”

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
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