Meeting Basic Needs in Southwest Baltimore: Showers and Other Support Services

September 7th, 2016

Thomas, his fiance Brandi, and his three kids are temporarily living in his sister’s three-bedroom house along with Thomas’ brother, wife, and daughter, a dog, and a cat – a situation not uncommon for many families in Southwest Baltimore. The upside of their living situation is that Thomas was able to take time off work when their now 3-month old baby was born, and his brother and sister have helped with child care. But, with that many people in the house, there is always a line for the one bathroom.

Thomas and Brandi have solved that challenge by showering at Paul’s Place. They arrive early, by 8 a.m. nearly every morning, to be first – or close to first – in line so they can shower quickly and get home to the kids. Paul’s Place provides the towels, shampoo and conditioner, soap, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, which is means they don’t have to lug toiletries on 15-minute bus ride to Paul’s Place from home. And, just as important until Thomas goes back to work, it is also a small source of savings. When they can, they also shop in the Market Place to save on the costs of clothing and eat lunch at Paul’s Place to stretch their food dollars.

They feel lucky that they have family who are able to help them with a place to live and that Thomas found Paul’s Place when he was out for a morning run about a year ago. Both have been a great support to the family in a time of need. Still, Thomas looks forward to going back to work – maybe with Temps Now doing construction work and washing cars again – and getting their own place. Thomas hopes his work schedule is flexible enough that he can start volunteering at Paul’s Place again, as he did before the baby was born, to help families in greater need that his own.

Thomas and Brandi are in good company when they arrive for their showers in the morning. Last year, 270 individuals took 1,500 showers, approximately. That’s about 125 showers per month – and the number of people in line for showers nearly doubles during the hot summer months.

On any given day, 40% of Paul’s Place guests are experiencing homelessness – living temporarily with family like Thomas and Brandi, staying in shelters, or sleeping on the streets – and don’t have access to showers or a place to store toiletries and towels. Showers and other support services at Paul’s Place – hot lunch, an emergency food pantry, the market place, and laundry service – help individuals and families in Southwest Baltimore meet their most basic needs during moments of crisis and on an on-going basis.

Guests have access to these support services on the following schedule:

  • Showers (M-F): 8:00- 10:00 and 1:00- 2:30
  • Hot Lunch (M-F): 11:00- 12:30
  • Emergency Food Pantry (M-F): 8:00- 3:30
  • Market Place (W-F): 11:00- 12:30
  • Laundry Service (M-F): 8:00- 8:30

You can help by contributing travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, shaving cream, and toothpaste as well as soap, disposable double-edged razors, and toothbrushes. Donations can be dropped off at Paul’s Place from 8:00 to 2:00 on week days, year-round. Learn more.