Dignity matters. For people moving through homelessness, it can be the key to restoring health, housing, and stability. That's why dignity is at the heart of Project Outpour's mission. The Charlotte-based nonprofit provides shower access to men and women moving through homelessness, alleviating suffering and promoting holistic health and dignity.
"Being and feeling clean gives people a sense of dignity," says Laura Gorecki, Project Outpour's Chief Dignity Officer. "It gives the confidence to walk into public spaces, to seek assistance, to go on a job interview." Shower access also has practical physical and mental health benefits, relieving social alienation and preventing infections and other medical issues.
Three fundamental values guide the work of Project Outpour: Humanity, Love, and Connection. The team sees its service as a starting point for building relationships and a way to meet our neighbors where they are and work to bring about change from there. Project Outpour partners with organizations that provide stable housing and other support services, creating a network that addresses the many issues faced by people moving through homelessness.
How Project Outpour Works
The Project Outpour team brings its customized trailer to locations throughout Charlotte where it can make the biggest impact. The trailer has two complete bathrooms, each with a sink, mirror, toilet and shower. Guests are provided with 20 minutes in the private bathroom and given supplies as needed.
Project Outpour has suspended shower service due to COVID-19 but hopes to resume in March 2021. A schedule, along with many other resources for people moving through homelessness, is available at projectoutpour.org. "We are hoping to add new locations so that we can provide services 4 or 5 days per week," says Laura.
How You Can Help
Help restore dignity to our neighbors by making a donation to Project Outpour. In addition to financial support, the organization is always looking for locations where it can set up the truck and trailer and tie into water/sewer connections, which can be a challenge. Another unique challenge for Project Outpour is finding secure storage for the truck, trailer, and supplies. "Ideally we would love to have climate controlled storage so that we could continue our mission in the cold months without worrying about our trailer freezing," says Laura.
If you feel passionate about working with people moving through homelessness, Project Outpour needs you. The team is always looking for volunteers and they want to expand their board of directors, adding members who want to be hands-on with the mission. Find out how to join the team here.
Grace Kennedy is a Huntersville-based writer specializing in storytelling for nonprofits. Learn more at gracekennedy.net.
All photos captured by Shutter Love Photography.