The organisation which runs a shower facility for the homeless has launched a voucher system to allow members of the public to help pay for the service. DoucheFLUX offers shower and other hygiene services for homeless people for the price of only one euro: shower, towel, flannel and flip-flops, toothbrush and toothpaste, razor and shaving cream, shampoo and soap.
However the cost to the organisation is €5 per person, which includes water and energy, staff costs and the cost of infrastructure maintenance. Since the year from opening last May, the service has provided 12,000 showers and 5,000 wash and brush-ups.
Now, DoucheFLUX has launched a voucher system by which members of the public can buy a voucher for €5 to cover the full cost of a full shower service for a homeless person. The principle is based on the caffè sospeso or pending coffee, by which customers pay for an extra cup of coffee for someone who cannot afford it at some point in the future.
The vouchers are available at a variety of sales points, including shops and hairdressers’ salons, as well as community centres such as theatres.
“The idea ought to become standard practice,” said Elisabet Mareels of DoucheFLUX. “Not everyone dares to just walk up to a homeless person with a voucher for a solidarity shower. There’s always the fear that it could come across as insulting.”
The principle is simple: pay for one or more vouchers at a sales point, and it will be passed on to DoucheFLUX without the need to go through homeless people themselves.
The centre also provides, outside of the €1 shower facility, washing machines, lockers for hire, psychological counselling and a dispensary for medication.