Baldwin Park Welcomes 'Showers of Hope" Facility to help bring relief to those suffering from Homelessness

Baldwin Park Welcomes 'Showers of Hope" Facility to help bring relief to those suffering from Homelessness

Original SGV Tribune Article Can be found HERE

A mobile facility where the homeless can shower and receive other services opened in Baldwin Park in May but had its politician-filled ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, June 29.

“Homelessness has doubled and doubled year after year here in our city and in the region, and it is important that we take action,” Baldwin Park Mayor Emmanuel J. Estrada said. “It is important that we realize when a human being hits the lowest point, they can that they still matter.”

The 2020 point-in-time count tallied 556 homeless individuals in the Baldwin Park. That’s more than double the 273 counted in 2019. The 2021 count was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Baldwin Park facility opened May 18 and operates every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Shower of Hope sends mobile showers to more than 20 locations across Los Angeles County, including East Pasadena.

Estrada was joined Tuesday by representatives from El Monte and South El Monte, as well as staffers for state Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, and Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to officially cut the ribbon for the mobile shower facility run by nonprofit The Shower of Hope.

Mel Tillekeratne, executive director and co-founder for the nonprofit, said traffic at the Baldwin Park stops has been slow, but the organization doesn’t measure its success based on the number of people served but rather the comprehensive way in which they are served.

“An approach like this is complicated,” Tillekeratne said. “Because when you have a scattered population, you have to put as many resources to get those people in. But the cool thing about this is that whatever numbers we get, it’s a complete capture when you look at all the agencies here.”

Next to the mobile showers, a team of public health officials vaccinated individuals experiencing homelessness. One kiosk handed out clothes and shoes while another distributed literature regarding homeless shelters and support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous.

While pop-up services like these are great, Estrada said, Baldwin Park is working on other initiatives to serve its citizens experiencing homelessness. Next week, the City Council will decide whether to fund a tiny home project which would house 25 individuals. These homes could be constructed quickly, taken apart and reassembled wherever they are needed, according to the letter of intent approved by the city back in February.

Estrada hopes people will support initiatives to help individuals experiencing homelessness because it could happen to anyone.

“The pandemic really showed us how we really have to have these safety nets in place to help the homeless because a lot of us – even if we live in a house or have our own mortgage – a lot of us really are one bad day away from ending up right next to them,” Estrada said.

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