Ted Day is homeless, but when using the free, temporary showers set up by Doctors Without Borders in Midtown for a couple days a week, he gets to feel like he’s at home.
“People are really nice,” said Day. “They welcome you like you’re home … It was good and the water was warm.”
The relief station at 30th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues was set up to give people living on the streets a place to safely shower and use the restroom, as well as receive toiletries, clean socks, and masks.
Many of the services that homeless New Yorkers depend on have been closed down because of coronavirus, and hygiene is one of Doctors Without Borders main focuses.
“Places where people used to be able to take showers, like rec centers, gyms, drop-in centers, they were all closed down and we thought this is an area where we can easily step in to make something happen,” explained Renee Corbett, the Doctors Without Borders station’s manager.
The showers have been open Monday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. for the past three weeks. They see about 40 people a day.
Starting this week, the organization is also offering people the option to have their clothes cleaned.
“There’s a whole aspect of health care that’s trying to keep people healthy, before they get sick,” said Corbett. “Part of that is by providing hygiene services, areas where people can wash their hands, shower, wash their clothes.”
All things Ted Day is extremely grateful for. “This is the best way to serve people,” he said. “To help people take a shower.”
Doctors without Borders says it plans to open another temporary shower trailer in Manhattan, and although it was planning to leave by May 22, organizers say it will stay longer if needed.
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Source: Spectrum News NY1 | Manhattan