Brooklyn, NY____ Today, Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening of Brooklyn’s first shower bus, formally known as the BCS Mobile Care Unit, at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The fully-outfitted bus will travel the borough of Brooklyn to provide hot showers, toiletries, peer counseling, housing support, and employment resources to the city’s homeless population.
The shower bus project aims to address chronic homelessness, and is made possible with the support of Borough President Adams, the Brooklyn Delegation of the City Council, as well as the sponsorship of Con Edison and Unilever.
“We are elated to reveal Brooklyn’s first shower bus, providing much needed and immediate resources to the homeless population of Brooklyn,” said Janelle Farris, executive director of Brooklyn Community Services. “For more than 150 years, BCS has earned a reputation for providing lifesaving services to Brooklyn residents through every point of crisis, and this new project speaks to our commitment of helping each and every Brooklyn resident meet their potential.”
“Two years ago, we embarked on the process of bringing a first-of-its-kind shower bus to Brooklyn, premised on the simple notion that being homeless should not be a barrier to basic hygiene or living with dignity. Today, I am thrilled to see that vision finally come to fruition. The shower bus will serve those who are often overlooked in our borough, at a time when Brooklynites and New Yorkers are in the most acute need for these kinds of services. I thank Brooklyn Community Services and their partners in the nonprofit and private sectors for their tireless efforts to make this project a reality,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Con Edison is proud to support this important and unique project, which will help New Yorkers in need live healthier, more comfortably and with greater dignity,” said Juliet Lewis, a corporate affairs manager for Con Edison. “Our company sees this contribution as an investment in our city and its people. We feel privileged to be New York City’s energy provider and try to give back through our charitable contributions and employee engagement activities.”
“I’m so glad that Brooklyn’s first mobile shower bus will at last be up and running to provide some measure of dignity for homeless neighbors in Brooklyn. Thank you to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and to Brooklyn Community Services for your dedicated work to turn this idea, which emerged from participatory budgeting, into a fully staffed and operated program in the community. Especially as the coronavirus pandemic has pushed many more people into acute need and made it harder to access support, the shower bus will be an essential public health resource,” said Council Member Brad Lander.
“I’m proud to have joined BP Eric Adams to secure funding for a shower bus in Brooklyn. This mobile public facility will provide our homeless residents with a basic necessity most others take for granted, and ensure they have a way to meet their hygiene needs and protect themselves from COVID-19. I also want to acknowledge the late Lew Fidler, who always spoke up for the marginalized, including homeless LGBTQIA youth, and also worked on achieving this public service for those most in need. I made a commitment to him that as co-chair of the Brooklyn Delegation, and with the leadership and support of Council Speaker Corey Johnson, we would prioritize funding the shower bus for our most vulnerable residents in Brooklyn,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.
“I am excited for the debut of Brooklyn’s first shower bus, which will offer homeless New Yorkers immediate resources and care,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “As co-chair of the City Council’s Brooklyn Delegation, I am proud of the delegation’s work to secure a $77,000 allocation for this vital resource. Thanks to our partnership with Borough President Adams, the shower bus will provide services to those who most need them in a time of great urgency.”
“We applaud Brooklyn Community Services and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for creating this mobile shower unit that will help fulfill an urgent need for homeless New Yorkers. Access to basic hygiene is essential to human dignity, and we hope this becomes the first of many shower and restroom stations across the city,” said Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless.
The retrofitted bus was made possible through funding allocations of $308,000 from Borough President Adams’ Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) capital budget and $77,000 from the City Council. It will have two individual shower units, each with overhead showers, sinks, toilets, and benches.
In September, the 2020 Mayor’s Management Report (MMR) reported a seven percent rise in street homelessness over the same time period last year, with 3,857 New Yorkers living without permanent housing or in a shelter. That figure was just below the previous five-year high recorded in 2017 of 3,892 New Yorkers. Advocates have pointed to several factors, including the overnight subway shutdown and the prevalence of COVID-19 in the shelter system, as contributing to the uptick in street homelessness this year.