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'Resiliency care' for unhoused people: A commentary by Kris Kepler

August 08, 2022

Homelessness_seattle_credit_Phil_Augustavo_GettyImages-533775261When we first met Kevin, he was living in a shelter, having struggled earlier in life, he says, with “poor decisions, procrastination, and self-loathing.” He came to the LavaMaeX’s site in Gladys Park, in the heart of Skid Row, once or twice a week to take a shower or spend time talking to our staff. This spring he finished his junior year at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Kevin was able to turn his life around with the help of numerous nonprofits, including LavaMaeX, which provides mobile showers and other essential care services for unhoused people and teaches organizations around the world to do the same. “LavaMaex helped me get clean when I was dirty, both inside and out,” he says. “They offered welcoming faces and clean, amazing showers when the local shelters could not consistently do so.”

Our services and Radical Hospitality approach—meeting people wherever they are with extraordinary care—gave Kevin the dignity and hope he needed to heal, find work, and return to school. His story is a perfect example of how crucial “resiliency care” delivered through ongoing relationships can be for unhoused people. There is no grantmaking category for this—we don’t see any funders focused on what to do for people on the streets who can’t access or don’t feel served by traditional services. It’s time to rethink that—particularly now, with homelessness in the United States continuing to rise....

Read the full commentary by Kris Kepler, CEO of LavaMaeX.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Phil Augustavo)

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