Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 09-11-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | SEPTEMBER 11-17, 2019 PAWTUCKET 5 PAWTUCKET – Details of a restored shower program for the homeless residents of Pawtucket are still being worked out, but two organizations have confirmed they're part of it. House of Hope, which previous- ly offered showers at a brick-and- mortar facility on Dexter Street, is hoping to bring one of its Shower to Empower mobile units to Pawtucket as part of a joint solu- tion with the city and Support the Soupman Corp. of Massachusetts. House of Hope Executive Director Laura Jaworski said the organization has a long history of helping members of the communi- ty in need. Showers, which could not be immediately implemented at the organization's interim loca- tion at 249 Roosevelt Ave., are only one aspect of numerous services it offers to homeless resi- dents, she said. When House of Hope found out its lease would not be renewed at 187 Dexter St., its staff immediate- ly made contact with a Pawtucket- based organization about develop- ing shower space in a new build- ing and has been working toward that goal ever since, Jaworski said. City officials announced last week that House of Hope's Shower to Empower and Support the Soupman would soon both be bringing mobile shower units to an undecided location, ending a summer where many homeless residents went without showers. The goal is to have the showers up and running by the end of the month, but there are a number of moving parts, said Jaworski. The space at 249 Roosevelt is a great one for meet- ing needs, particu- larly being near the Department of Human Services, said Jaworski, but there are challenges in making showers work here. What many people don't realize is the com- plexity of providing such services, with a need for privacy, security, a water source and appropriate dis- posal of discarded water. The mobile Shower to Empower program by House of Hope, which has three mobile units in Providence, is more than show- ers for the homeless, but provides a welcoming space where many needs are met, Jaworski said, adding that it's been her hope all along to bring an existing mobile hygiene unit to Pawtucket. She added that the organization has helped a number of homeless residents get to Providence to take showers there during the hot sum- mer months. Jaworski said she looks forward to learning more about what Peter Kelleher and his Support the Soupman Corp. do with their shower units. There are only about 140 organizations doing mobile hygiene units, she said, and it's admirable for anyone to meet such a basic need. Kelleher, she said, has a powerful story to tell for his motivation. It will be important going for- ward, said Jaworski, for everyone to work together to get homeless residents their basic needs. It will be critical for those coming to Kelleher's showers to be able to ask the next questions about where to go for other services, she said, and the ability to offer that next step is a particular strength of House of Hope. Those com- ing need to be told where to go for housing and other important services, she said. Someone may be selling sex for shelter and not want to do that anymore, and it's important to know what to do with those individual cases, she said. In other cases, someone might express concern about a health condition elated to their arm, or an issue with their foot (a frequent problem among home- less) and they need to get appro- priate referrals. The mobile hygiene units work so well because they're out in the community where people are com- fortable and are already going, said Jaworski. House of Hope, which also runs the ACCESS-RI program previ- ously operating on Dexter Street and now at 249 Roosevelt Ave., started its Shower to Empower program in April 2018, said Jaworski. By the end of August, the program had provided about 1,705 showers at three locations in Providence four days each week. Those mobile hygiene units also offer medical services and hair- cuts, providing 692 haircuts dur- ing that time and 450 instances of medical care services. The shower unit has "become such an impor- tant engagement tool," she said. The average number of showers for one homeless resident is seven and then they move on to shelter or more permanent housing. House of Hope happy to be part of revived shower program By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor JAWORSKI Pawtucket Library announces teen programs PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer St., announces the following teen pro- grams. • K-Drama: today, Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. Teens in grades 9-12 are invited to join other fans of Korean dramas to hang out, learn a new word in Korean, watch a K-drama series, and enjoy snacks provided by the library. • Teen Anime Club: Thursday, Sept. 19, 6 to 8 p.m. Teens in grades 6-12 are invited to join other fans of Japanese animation to hang out, get to know some new anime, some older anime, and enjoy pizza pro- vided by the library. This month's anime will feature anime shows all about music. The programs are free and no reg- istration is required. For more infor- mation, call the teen librarian at 401- 725-3714, ext. 221, or email sbloom@ . Teen Korean Drama Club meets at the library Wednesday PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer St., will host its Teen Korean Drama Club on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. Teens in grades 9-12 are invited to join other fans of Korean dramas to hang out, learn a new word in Korean, watch a K-drama series, and enjoy snacks provided by the library. The program is free and no regis- tration is required. For more informa- tion, call the teen librarian at 401- 725-3714, ext. 221, or email sbloom@ . 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