Los Banos church, hospital team to provide homeless showers

Finding a place to clean up can be challenging when you’re homeless. In fact, the volunteers with Bethel Community Church said it’s one of the issues homeless men and women in Los Banos bring up most frequently.

“There are two things they always ask for: a place to shower, and do laundry,” said the Rev. Stephen Hammond, senior pastor at the church.

Church volunteers plan to team up Friday with Memorial Hospital in Los Banos to provide a trailer with showers during the sixth Los Banos Homeless connect event.

The shower trailer houses two bathrooms with showers, sinks, toilets and air conditioning.

Friday’s Los Banos Homeless Connect, organized by the Merced City and County Continuum of Care, is a one-day event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church, 425 I St., Los Banos.

The church is still figuring out when the trailer will be open to homeless residents beyond Friday’s event, Hammond said. The mobile trailer will remain outside the church, but it can be hauled to different areas throughout the city.

The hospital footed the bill for the trailer, which cost more than $26,000, Memorial Hospital Administrator Doug Archer said. That includes design, construction, shipping and toiletries.

Hammond said Memorial Hospital approached the church and The Salvation Army on a project that could improve service to Los Banos’ homeless population.

“This was, I think, a great opportunity to partner with Bethel Community Church and The Salvation Army,” Archer said.

The Homeless Connect event includes haircuts, medical screenings, a hot lunch and information on services. The shower trailer will be unveiled during the event.

Several public agencies, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, private businesses and community members will provide information and resources to those individuals and families.

“We’ll do whatever we can to get them off the streets,” Hammond said.

Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562