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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Mobile shower truck for homeless set to debut in Bellingham

HomesNow!, a local organization that advocates for the homeless, have put together a mobile shower truck project to provide accessible showers to those in need. // Photo courtesy by Zack Jimenez

by Zack Jimenez

Jim Peterson, a founding member of the organization HomesNow!, is working with a team of volunteers to build a mobile shower truck to serve the Bellingham community.

Peterson said they will travel to different parts of the city and the surrounding area at least three times a week to provide showers to as many people as possible.  

HomesNow! is also planning to have the truck on site during their monthly summits to provide showers and to collect donations.

Their monthly summits are community outreach events that provides food, clothes and hygiene products to people in need.

The program was founded by Douglas Gustafson and Jim Peterson in June 2017 to build tiny homes and work on community outreach projects.

The truck will have two shower units inside and a ramp entrance to make it fully wheelchair accessible.

Peterson was homeless for 17 years and has since devoted himself to being a “hell-raiser” advocate for the homeless. Peterson said the goal of this project is to inspire people that community outreach projects can be done in a reasonable amount of time on a limited budget.

“There has been so much community support for this truck,” Peterson said.

Over 20 members from the community came to volunteer to work on the truck, according to Peterson.

Jim Peterson, a founding member of HomesNow!, said the goal of the project is to inspire people that community outreach projects can be done in a reasonable amount of time. He said over 20 members of the community volunteered to work on the truck. // Photo courtesy of Zack Jimenez.

“Accomplishing the build of the shower truck will hopefully inspire people to see how easily it can be done when people come together,” Jennifer Mansfield, a volunteer with HomesNow!, said.

“I see this truck not about HomesNow!, but about our community—our homeless community,” shower truck designer Markis Dee said.

Peterson said the budget for this project was $5,000 and the project has cost $6,250. The program is run by private donations, he said.

Peterson said the design and the fabrication of the truck could not have been possible without support from Tidal Vision, a local business whose products encourage sustainable fishing practices. Tidal Vision provided HomesNow! a location to build the shower truck.

Mansfield said social media made this project possible by allowing them to find volunteers with the skills for the shower truck build.

“Being a part of the shower truck project has been an inspiring experience,” Mansfield said. “It’s really amazing to watch a dream or idea become a reality when people come together.”

The size of the truck trailer is 16 feet by 7 feet 6 inches and holds a 300-gallon tank that can provide both of the shower units with hot water.

Peterson said they plan to dump the water waste at dumping stations for recreational vehicles. The shower will use organic soaps and shampoos to avoid any chemicals in the wastewater, Peterson said.  

The shower truck progress is updated through the HomesNow! Facebook page, and once the truck is operating, they will post events there as well, according to Peterson.

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