New Hope Resource Center (New Hope) will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch its Mobile Resources Response Team, complete with a new 40-foot RV and hygiene trailers, on Friday, Sept. 25 at 12 p.m. at South Hill Baptist Church, 7914 112th St. E, Puyallup, Washington.
The new mobile response team was made possible by a Pierce County grant of $191,235 for COVID-19-related expenses to New Hope’s parent nonprofit, Homeward Bound. The RV and trailers allow New Hope to break the bounds of its brick-and-mortar facility in Puyallup and take services out to people who otherwise would have none. It also allows New Hope to enter people experiencing homelessness into the county system for help finding necessary resources.
“If people can’t walk here, they can’t get services,” said Paula Anderson, executive director and on the board at New Hope. “Many people are unserviced in the East Pierce County area. There are no centers available, and services are sporadic, so bringing services to a location where people are comfortable is the goal. And with COVID-19 and the hepatitis outbreak, sanitation is extremely important.”
In addition to the grant New Hope received, companies from across the Puget Sound region joined forces to design, equip and build the laundry and shower trailers. Spearheaded by Anderson and Bob Frey, sales director at UMC, 10 companies donated all the materials and labor needed for UMC to build out the trailers in its Mukilteo manufacturing shop.
A major contribution to the project came from CHC Hydronics partnered with Intellihot, a manufacturer of tankless water heaters. They donated two 500,000 BTU water heaters valued at $20,000 each, one for each trailer.
“CHC got involved after the cell phone rang and Bob asked us what we thought about this,” said Brandon McCann, CHC sales engineer. “The vice president of sales and marketing at CHC said, ‘Brandon, support Bob all the way.’ So, I worked with Bob to get these selected and designed on the hot water side.”
Other generous partners on the project include Weirs Appliances, which donated four stackable washers and dryers. Ferguson, Central Welding Supply, United Rentals, and Bigfoot Construction each donated all the various materials needed to build these trailers, and Prime Electric provided electrical work to get the trailers ready to hit the road.
“UMC designed and built the two trailers to be self-sufficient with little-to-no maintenance requirements,” said Frey. “We led the effort to provide New Hope with a product that meets their budget needs as well as community outreach goals. The pandemic has put a spotlight on the need for flexible homeless services, and UMC hopes this can help other homeless service providers come to unique solutions that serve communities.”
The RV, shower trailer, and laundry trailer will be deployed three times a week in areas where encampments are located, at local churches, and in business parking lots. Anderson and other New Hope staff will be present at each location so those living homeless can wash themselves and their clothes, receive a meal, and have access to a reliable Wi-Fi connection to schedule medical appointments and check in with family.
“These mobile services will give the community members in Pierce County who are experiencing homelessness a chance to feel human again,” Anderson said. “I am very inspired by UMC and its partners who are willing to work with us in a way that meets our needs and budgets. UMC has been working tirelessly to get most items needed for the build-out donated by their vendors. That speaks a lot about the quality of the relationships they have with these organizations.”