Austin’s first mobile shower trailer for the homeless serves dozens

Streetside Showers

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A nonprofit with the mission of serving the less fortunate brought their first shower trailer to Austin on Saturday, serving dozens of the city’s homeless population. 

The 501(c)3 organization, Lighter Loads ATX, was founded by Laura and James Ritchie. They spend many of their weekends bringing food to those in the Austin area without a home, but their first block party featured a shower trailer, a haircut station, a food and clothing area and they even had a chiropractor on site. 

“We love them, we want to give them some dignity too ’cause everybody deserves a hot shower,” said Debbie Booher, Secretary of Lighter Loads ATX.

An organization out of Dallas called Streetside Showers lent them one of their trailers for the day and Ritchie hopes to eventually give people the ability to do laundry in the trailors as well. 

The actual trailer features showers with a toilet and grooming area and after each shower, someone goes in and disinfects the stall. 

“They’re our friends and we just want to love on them and give them what we all deserve,” Booher explained.

The City of Austin told KXAN in February that as long as the trailer is on private property, they are not aware of any permits the group would need to obtain, and Saturday’s event was held on the property of
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in northern Travis County.

Booher said they’ve only been met with positive feedback about how they’re serving their community.

“We don’t get access to that all the time so it’s nice to have some access to it,” said Jim Lanzreth, who showed up to the organization’s event on Saturday. He said the organization’s members have given him and his friends food before. “I think the ability to get the showers and to get this other stuff is a big deal for us, I think it’s going to help everybody in that situation a lot.”

Ritchie’s vision is to host the trailers at different churches around Austin every Saturday.

Their fundraising goal to eventually buy their own trailer is $45,000. To donate, visit Lighter Loads ATX’s website

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