ORLANDO, Fla. — A new mobile shower unit directed at homeless youth in Central Florida is set to begin running next month as part of a collaborative effort between the nonprofit Service and Love Together (SALT) Outreach, the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida and Simply Healthcare Plans.

What You Need To Know

  • SALT Outreach will soon have new mobile showers for homeless youth in the area

  • A ribbon cutting for the trailer will be Feb. 9

  • The shower trailer will be available five days a week at a designated drop-in center for homeless youth, though an exact location is still being decided

The mobile shower will add to the fleet SALT Outreach already has. It’s parked in Sanford until the unveiling happens in February.

The shower trailer has three bathrooms and stackable washer and dryer units.

Simply Healthcare Plans donated $150,000 to cover the cost of the trailer, while the program as a whole is being funded by an $8.4 million federal grant awarded to the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which cited Central Florida as having the highest rate of 16 through 24-year-olds experiencing homelessness.

Charles De Guzman, who has been without a home on and off for four years, is one of the young adults SALT Outreach hopes to help with the dedicated unit.

“Being able to live on the streets has been a very influential experience in my life,” he said. “SALT provides very much needed stability.”

De Guzman grew up in Seminole County, but was born in the Philippines. He’s currently working to find a job.

“Few of us want to stay in this trap of homelessness forever,” he said.

Kenneth Denizard is in charge of driving SALT trailers. He’s pulled them to outposts in Orlando, Sanford, Tampa and Daytona Beach.

He remembers towing a shower trailer to Tampa, and helping an individual who hadn’t showered for a year and a half.

“It’s rewarding to be able to help somebody, whether it’s a shower or giving them a pair of shoes,” said Denizard. “That’s a real reality check — how we just take a drop of water for granted.”

Eric Camarillo, the executive director for SALT Outreach, says giving others access to what once was a need for him has been fulfilling.

At just 20 years old, Camarillo spent six months living out of his car in Chicago, and has clear memories of going to gas stations to clean up.

“I know how intimidating it can to be in a space where there’s so many other different people and demographics,” he said. “Right now, in Downtown Orlando, we’re serving over 100 people a day, five days a week with our current equipment.”

The shower trailer will be available five days a week at a designated drop-in center for homeless youth. An exact location is still being decided.

A ribbon cutting for the trailer will be Feb. 9.

According to the Homeless Services Network, more programs and services will be announced in the coming months to continue helping youth and young adults.

“We know this intervention has the potential to completely shift the trajectory of a young person’s life and break a cycle of poverty. It’s impossible to overstate how important this work is,” said Aja Hunter, director of youth programs for the Homeless Services Network.