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Media News
for The New York Times: A Shower Bus Helps Those Without Access
josé a. alvarado jr.
Dec 15, 2021
Location: Brooklyn
At about 9 a.m., three days a week, Brooklyn Community Services’ shower bus parks and begins its day. People without regular access to showers line up, and affiliate groups often offer food and medical care.

The bus, driven by Givenson Cadet, is the shell of a shuttle bus. Brooklyn Community Services bought the shell in 2019 and installed two bathrooms.

Before each client steps aboard, volunteers hand out hygiene kits that include toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and towels. They also offer feminine hygiene products and P.P.E., such as gloves and masks, to help protect against Covid-19.

Each client is given a token to start the shower, which allows it to run for three minutes and 30 seconds. On slower days, clients are offered two tokens. Each bathroom also has a toilet and a lock for privacy.

Between each shower, volunteers and staff members sanitize the bathroom, so each client has a clean room. The bus provides about 60 to 75 showers a week.

“It is very, very difficult to be out there on the street,” said Jodi Querbach, the chief operating officer of Brooklyn Community Services, which is continuing to provide hygiene kits in the winter when it’s too cold for the bus to operate. “We’ve always known that being able to provide this meant giving people back some dignity.”

Photography and Video for The New York Times, with words by Emma Grillo.
A Shower Bus Helps Those Without Access
People without regular access to bathing find help at Brooklyn Community Services' shower bus.


José A. Alvarado Jr. is a visual storyteller devoted to documenting cultural and social issues, as well as human interest stories in the US and Puerto Rico.
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