Looking for a change, Jameel Milligan, age 36, moved from Philadelphia, where he worked in the chemical industry, to Las Vegas. He was certain he’d have no problem finding a job at one of the many resorts.
“I wanted to start over and I thought since there are so many different types of jobs at all the casinos, I’d have no problem finding something,” he said. “I didn’t realize that you need various licenses and permits in order to do certain jobs within the casinos. I came here with no plan, just on a whim.”
With certain permits taking over 19 weeks to obtain for most casino workers, Milligan found himself in a situation he didn’t expect – homeless and unable to work. Homelessness affects over 6,400 individuals on any given night in Southern Nevada. Las Vegas has the nation’s sixth largest population of homeless individuals among major cities in the United States. One challenge that many experiencing homelessness face is keeping up their personal hygiene. In response to this basic need that many of us take for granted, Sands Cares, the corporate giving program of Las Vegas Sands, and Clean the World partnered to build the Fresh Start Mobile Showers. The unit travels to various locations in Las Vegas serving the homeless to provide showers, hygiene supplies and other resources.
“I found out about the showers by accident,” Milligan said. “Someone told me about the showers being at different locations so I showed up at Care Complex on the first day and had my first shower. I remember there were only two people that day that showed up to use the services. I haven’t missed a shower yet. I just go to all of the locations and have my daily shower.”
Clean the World has seen a steady increase in clients and use of the showers and services since beginning operations of the Fresh Start Mobile Showers in August of this year. Due to the large amount of people using the showers, they offered Milligan a permanent job assisting with the operation of the shower unit.
“It’s been a blessing becoming a permanent employee for the showers,” he said. “I never had to live on the streets. I’ve always been able to find a safe place to sleep through Catholic Charities. This just shows that there are a lot of people out here who care. Once I save enough money, I’ll be able to get a place of my own. Things are starting to work in my favor.”