Las Vegas Sands and Clean the World have announced a first-of-its-kind service in Las Vegas to help homeless people. The Sands Cares Fresh Start Mobile Showers Powered by Clean the World is a traveling hygiene unit that visits locations serving the homeless to provide showers, hygiene supplies and other resources. Made possible by a $250,000 grant from LVS, the Sands Cares Fresh Start Mobile Showers were unveiled in Las Vegas on July 27. The showers offer approximately 250 showers per week and will be located at community partner locations one day per week where clients will also have access to emergency shelter, food and clothing supplies, medical care and detoxification services. Partners include WestCare, CARE Complex, Nevada Homeless Alliance and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. Las Vegas has the sixth largest population of homeless individuals among major cities and the third highest number of unaccompanied homeless youth. More than 80 percent of these youth are unsheltered – the highest rate in the nation.
How did the idea of the Fresh Start Mobile Showers begin?
· The idea for the mobile showers began with multiple trips to Las Vegas and working with Las Vegas Sands, understanding the need to help the growing homeless population. As I walk from property to property on the Las Vegas Strip, I started to understand the need for something like this. The need for someone to get a shower. I had seen some concepts in other cities where people were taking buses and moving trucks and converting them into showers. Las Vegas is a perfect place for us to provide showers to those in the community who need them. This is a great way to serve the homeless population.
What is the importance of having a partner like Las Vegas Sands?
· We are not where we are today without Las Vegas Sands. LVS had continued to empower us and fuel us when we expanded our facility in Las Vegas. The equipment that we have today to recycle all the soap collected in Las Vegas, is because of Las Vegas Sands. When we first went international to Macao and Asia - that was because of funding from Las Vegas Sands. They understand the social entrepreneurial impact that we could make so that we can make an impact on people and communities. We brought the concept for the unit to Ron Reese and his team and they were open to it. They understand how this will be good for disaster relief efforts and we can take it anywhere across the United States and the world. To have a partner we can go to and believes in our mission and sees our vision and helps seed and fund us, it’s incredible and has expanded our organization. We are not where we are today without the support from LVS and Ron Reese. We are forever grateful. I’m so grateful for everything LVS has done to make this possible.
What is the goal of the Fresh Start Mobile Showers?
· We just want to help people get clean in their time of need. Help them get a leg up in life to have 20 minutes to use the restroom and have a nice shower, to become refreshed and wash away what has happened to them. A moment to get renewed. We want them to get back on their feet so they can make an impression at a possible job interview and get out of their situation. Plus, we also get to teach young students the importance of cleanliness and proper hygiene. I know how refreshed I feel after a shower and we want that for this population.
Where do you see the mobile showers in five years? Adding more units, locations?
· I want multiple units across the United States. I want one that goes all over to help the homeless. I want them in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and New York City. I think we can help deliver showers to the most vulnerable populations. We want them to get clean and feel good about themselves. This will start another component to our hygiene revolution.
What do you feel will be the biggest benefit of the mobile showers for Las Vegas? How do you think it will impact the community?
· It’s going to clean folks and help those individuals to get a moment of reprieve and get refreshed. Maybe it changes their state of mind. We have awesome organizations in Las Vegas that are trying to help these people, but they can’t reach them. If the shower unit can put those walls down and get these people in, then the organizations can help them further. They can get them housing, a job, and hygiene kits. I hope this is a bridge to get people more access to these awesome organizations.