Free hot showers offer dignity to Charlotte’s homeless

Offbeat and Unique

(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A smile of pride and dignity could be seen on the faces of the handful of people who got a nice hot shower on Tuesday.

People needing one got the chance to get one free at First Christian Church in Dilworth. Jolin McElroy is the pastor. The church just collaborated with Project Outpour.

The group will park a mobile shower every Tuesday in the church’s parking lot. Places normally open to the homeless have COVID-19 restrictions in place or aren’t as easy to get to.

“I really believe it’s continuing the ministry of Jesus to do things like this to interact with people that very often the world doesn’t want to see,” McElroy said. “If you are homeless the hanging out at the public library or hanging out at a gas station or whatever has become trickier because there are all of these rules about how close you have to be to people.”

Laura Gorecki is with Project Outpour. After a shower, she passes out essential items like t-shirts, socks, and even brushes and combs are given out. The group normally targets areas around the city where it may be harder to access a shower.

“They may have to find a gas station restroom to bath in and put yourself in that situation and you take your shower you don’t even think about it and for many many folks in the city that is just not the reality,” Gorecki said. “Taking that shower it’s just a restart on the day we get people walking out all day saying man I feel so much better.”

Homelessness is still a major problem in the Queen City. Bethany McDonald is one of the 70 nonprofits apart of the 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy to end homelessness. It’s a joint effort with the county and city.

According to Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing and Homelessness Dashboard, more than 3,200 people are still living on the streets. Meantime, McDonald says hygiene is a human right.

“There’s still a mind-boggling amount of people that are still out there in tents in the woods under bridges all over Charlotte,” Mcdonald said. “We’re so appreciative and love them so much those groups that go out and do that because they are committed and they found something where there was a gap and they address it.”

Showers are available every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The church is open on Mondays and Fridays offering free hot meals. You can click here for more details about the events.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for us to reach folks,” McElroy said. “I believe that one of the great things that Jesus did was offer dignity to people.”

The nonprofit coalition has set October 1, 2021 as the deadline to develop and launch the Five Year Strategy to end homelessness and drive meaningful and lasting change in the Queen City.  

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