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An Oceanside couple who raised funds to launch a food trailer to feed homeless people last year has almost reached a fundraising goal to create the largest mobile shower unit in San Diego County.

“In our downtown area, it’s very much needed,” said Harisimran Khalsa, who founded Duwara Consciousness Foundation with her husband Davinder Singh in 2018. “The people we talk to when we serve food say they only have access to a shower once a month. Some say they go to a parking lot with a bucket and water.”

The 7-stall trailer they plan to purchase will significantly increase the number of shower stalls available for homeless people.

Homeless people in East Village now can shower at Father Joe’s Villages, which has seven public showers for men and five for women. The hours for the showers are limited, and lines to use them are common.

The nonprofit Think Dignity has a two-stall mobile shower, and the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego operates a couple of two-stall mobile units called Showers of Blessing, which serves up to 80 people each week at different locations.

Khalsa said the fundraiser to purchase a 7-stall mobile shower is about $30,000 short of its $150,000 goal, but she expects it to be bought and running by March. Donations can be made at duwara.org or at the foundation’s Facebook page.

Besides shower stalls, the trailer also will have a washer and dryer for people to do laundry, she said. Their website states they expect to provide 30,000 showers and 7,500 loads of laundry annually.

While the couple is aiming high with their latest project, Khalsa and Singh’s start was much more modest. They began by making meals for homeless people at Oceanside’s Joe Balderrama Park two years ago, but shifted gears after a city official notified them that they needed permits to continue.

They founded Duwara Consciousness Foundation — the foundation’s name means “gates to consciousness” in Sanskrit — and spent months raising funds and applying for county permits to launch their food trailer. It serves fresh vegetarian food at regular stops in Carlsbad, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego.

The shower trailer will be mobile, but Khalsa said it will be stationed twice a week at the National Alliance on Mental Illness offices on 16th Street in East Village.

Vanessa Onstad at NAMI said the mobile showers will be a perfect fit for the organization’s new Club House, a program that opened last year and offers services to about 100 homeless people will mental issues.

“We were really inspired to cooperate,” she said about meeting Singh and Khalsa.

The Club House recently received a job-training grant that will pay for plumbing expansions in its parking lot, which Onstad said will be used for a planned employment program that will include clients power-washing the neighboring sidewalks and street. The new plumbing also will be used to hook up the mobile shower and laundry.

In another tie-in with employment opportunities, Onstad said providing showers and laundry facilities to homeless people in the neighborhood will help them be more presentable, which could lead to jobs.

“We thought, ‘This would be great,’” she said about learning of the Durwara Foundation’s plan. “This will completely change the landscape of employment downtown.”

The Club House, the first of its kind for NAMI, also will offer a culinary training program.

Khalsa said once the mobile showers are ready, they will be available for other uses besides serving the homeless community. For instance, she said, they could be used by firefighters who are battling fires in remote locations.


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