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Mobile Showers Restore Dignity To Sydney’s Homeless

By Bron Matherson and Sarah Forster

A daily shower is something most of us would take for granted but it is a challenge for the 100,000 Australians who sleep rough every single night. Disturbingly almost 18,000 of those are kids aged under 12.

Figures from a survey conducted by the City of Sydney Council shows a person is homeless for almost five and a half years with the average age being 42. A traumatic experience including physical and sexual assault is behind the reason why 49 percent end up on the streets- almost the same number reported they were a victim of violence after becoming homeless.

Not for profit organisation OneVoice is aiming to restore dignity to those without a roof over their head by offering a mobile shower service in Parramatta from next week.

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Founder Josh Wilkins believes it will help change thousands of lives- he’s told WSfm’s Sarah Forster he spent six months on the streets before deciding to go ahead with the program “out of that experience the two things I picked up was the obvious which is accommodation and the showers which I think is a bit of a hidden thing we take for granted”.

A decommissioned State Transit bus has been refitted with a 2000 litre water tank and can provide 40 warm showers a day as well as free toiletry and hygiene products, clothing and haircuts.

The Baird Government has so far contributed $90,000 to the mobile shower but is calling for business support to ensure its long term viability.

But Wilkins has told WSfm, it is more than just having a wash because “it is the community and relationships we build and conversations we have [with people]… so a shower makes people feel human again and we impact that by sharing our life with them”.

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