SEATTLE — Seattle community centers are providing basic hygiene services to help those living unsheltered. Showers are open to homeless residents at four community centers, which provided 1,000 showers last year through the free shower program.
— City of Seattle (@CityofSeattle) March 23, 2017
The Delridge Community Center originally charged a $3 shower fee when the program started a few years ago. But advocacy work led to partnerships that have resulted in donations, and the showers became free to use for homeless residents lat year, according to the city’s Parkways website.
Shower Program Supports Jobs, Health
Homelessness rates are higher in cities than in other locations, according to a study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors released this year. Seattle’s homelessness rates spiked by 19 percent in a January 2016 report, according to the Seattle Times.
Angie Ramirez, Delridge Community Center coordinator, said “I believe that after these residents are able to shower, feel clean and valued, they have a more positive outlook on life. We have come to know that many of these patrons have a job but their living situations are complicated. When they are able to come here after work and shower, they are able to go back to work feeling somewhat refreshed the next day.”
The city’s community centers also expanded operating hours in neighborhoods with limited recreation opportunities and opened the doors to all:
“Beginning this year we made most of our drop-in activities free after hearing from many community members that even small drop-in fees can be a barrier for people with low incomes,” wrote Seattle Parks & Recreation.
The Seattle Parks & Recreation scholarship program also provides low-income individuals and families with discounts to use facilities and services, including classes, swimming, enrichment programs, school-aged child care for before and after school and more.