A new nonprofit hit the streets Jan. 10 in its crowdfunded mobile shower trailer for the homeless.
“It has been eye-opening,” Gina Barton, the volunteer director at Fort Worth’s Cloud Covered Streets team, said. “It has been a very passionate and bittersweet thing.”
Cloud Covered Streets’ Fort Worth team members offered a Haircuts for the Homeless event, providing laundry, shower and grooming services to residents. Their trailer is equipped with three showers — two walk-in showers and a wheelchair-accessible shower — and a laundry room.
The nonprofit was founded by Robert Thornton in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016 to aid the homeless population.
The organization expanded its services to the greater Fort Worth area after Barton and a few others traveled to Arizona and realized the city had a population in need of the services.
Cloud Covered Streets will provide services every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The trailer will be at the Community Crossroads Outreach Center, 1516 Hemphill St., on Mondays, Grace Temple Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 4200 E. Berry St., on Wednesdays and will alternate between Broadway Baptist Church, 305 W. Broadway Ave., and working with the Grand Prairie Homeless Outreach Organization.
The team will employ two people who are experiencing homelessness to help run operations of the trailer in hopes of “acknowledging their existence” and “do whatever we can to help them get back to a more ‘normal’ life,’’ Barton said.
Operations Manager Kenneth Miller said building trust with homeless people was difficult, but through persistence, transparency and by keeping their promises, team members know residents by name.
“The crazy thing about this now that I’m seeing this and witnessing it is most of these people, made one or two bad decisions — lost their job and couldn’t find something — it’s so disheartening to know that it was just one thing,” Miller said.
Miller participated in street missions with Cloud Covered Streets’ Fort Worth team while they waited for trailer renovations to be completed in 2021. The nonprofit hopes to continue providing its services in the greater Fort Worth area and eventually expand to Austin, Houston and Nashville, Tennessee, where residents have expressed interest.
“This team right here is like a family,” Miller said. “It’s hard for them to trust each other, but, even though they’re not related, this to them is the closest family that they get.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.