Target: Honolulu City Council
Goal: Create hygiene centers for the homeless
The Honolulu City Council is considering the approval of a proposal that would create safe, public places where the homeless would be able to take showers, use toilets, and wash their clothes. These places, called hygiene centers, would help move the homeless population away from city and state beaches and parks, where they often cause discomfort among tourists and other residents.
This concept is not new. In 1999, Seattle opened a hygiene center, Urban Rest Stop (URS) . This location provides free restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. Those who choose to use the facilities are given free toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, shaving cream, shampoo, body soap, and if they choose to wash their clothes, overalls to borrow while waiting. In addition, all those who come through URS are given general and referral information about homelessness and homeless individuals and families. These materials are offered in English and other languages common to the area. URS’s main goal is to provide assistance to homeless individuals who are seeking to exit homelessness. The center estimates that most of the people who use the facility have jobs and are getting ready for work; they are homeless because they don’t earn enough to sustain permanent living situations.
The proposal for Honolulu hygiene centers suggests that the facilities be modeled after URS. A major goal of the facilities would be to reach out to the homeless and provide them with information on how they can get help.
Hawaii has long considered homelessness a crisis situation. By creating innovative ways to help those who are homeless and move them away from public beaches and parks where they often set up camps, this issue can be alleviated. Creating hygiene centers will benefit the homeless population by offering them extra support and services, as well as benefit other residents and tourists by creating more comfortable beach and park environments. Urge the Honolulu City Council to approve the proposal to create hygiene centers.
Dear Honolulu City Council,
The recent proposal that councilman Joey Manahan introduced is worth approving. This proposal would establish hygiene centers, places where the homeless can take showers, use the restroom, and wash their clothes. In addition to providing these services, the centers would encourage the homeless to seek help by offering them information and referral materials about homelessness and how they can change their situations.
This type of facility has already seen success in Seattle. The city’s hygiene center, Urban Rest Stop, supplied 55,000 showers and 19,000 loads of laundry in 2006 alone. The services these types of centers provide allow the homeless to prepare for job interviews and feel as if they can be successful. Without clean clothes and a presentable appearance, most homeless individuals feel insecure about gaining and securing employment.
In addition to providing support to Hawaii’s homeless population, these facilities will discourage the homeless from setting up camps at public beaches and parks, which often create uncomfortable and unpleasant experiences for tourists and other residents. Therefore, approving this proposal will positively impact many parties, and will improve the state as a whole.
[Your Name Here]
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