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Local Church To Provide Hot Showers To Unhoused Neighbors

  • Thursday, January 26, 2023

Bridge City Community Church is gearing up to provide free hot showers for its unhoused neighbors in the city of Chattanooga through its new “Showered w/Hope” Mobile Shower Trailer. As a staple in the South Chattanooga community for nearly 10 years, the church's mission has been to “Act Justly,
Love Mercy and Walk Humbly”. 

What Bridge City Community Church says about the program: 

"We believe that no one should be denied access to cleanliness because it is a fundamental human right.” Individuals experiencing homelessness lack access to everyday necessities and services — including showers. This makes it all too easy for them to be “othered”,
rejected, and unseen by society, compromising their sense of dignity and their chance to feel included in the community. Free showers should be made accessible to those living on the streets - because one shower can contribute to improving health, and well-being and restoring one’s dignity in themselves.

Showered w/Hope will be effective because guests will be treated with compassion, dignity, and
empathy which leads to unlikely friendships and a strong sense of community. This principle is called Radical Hospitality. Our guests will become like family and return to not only shower but also spend the day in a safe and welcoming space. The balance of privacy (in the shower), communal connection (before and after the shower), and Radical Hospitality is what makes mobile shower services so healing.

Showered w/Hope will provide showers every Saturday starting in April at various locations and homeless camps around the city. Once a month we will host Pop Up Care Villages alongside other local service providers, businesses, churches, and nonprofits. We know that through unity we can provide a plethora of services to our unhoused neighbors and shed light that can illuminate the whole community.

Providing showers and services to our unhoused neighbors is a huge undertaking and will take more capacity than we currently have here at BCC. This will truly take a village of individuals, organizations, and agencies that are willing to stand strong for and beside many individuals that are normally overlooked. However, together we can spread love, hope, and dignity to those who sincerely need it. 

While researching this particular service, we’ve had numerous opportunities to speak to individuals experiencing homelessness and the consensus was that hygiene is super important to how they go about their daily lives. Being clean gives you a sense of hope and pride in yourself. A shower ranked very high on their list of priorities.

There are many ways to help your unhoused neighbors besides starting a mobile hygiene program. Making eye contact, saying hello, and leading with compassion are great first steps to making them feel visible and human again. Another excellent way to make an impact is by assembling and distributing hygiene kits–filled with essentials such as deodorant, shampoo, socks, or even heartwarming notes–regardless of whether or not your community has a mobile shower program.

Many ignore their unhoused neighbors because they are unfamiliar or their presence makes them uncomfortable. Volunteer or donate to our shower program and make an effort to get to know those living on the streets. Most importantly, become an advocate for your unhoused neighbors–feeling invisible can be worse than feeling dirty.

Showered w/Hope is funded by individuals, families, churches, donations and grants. To volunteer or donate to Showered w/Hope, contact Pastor Ryan Perry or visit www.bridgecitycommunity.com for more information.

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