A mobile service center for Bogota’s homeless is providing free showers, clean clothes and food to some of the estimated 9,000 people who live in the streets of this city of 8 million.
The program launched by the mayor’s office also offers free haircuts, shaves and even vaccinations from a large metal container on wheels outfitted with numerous shower stalls where homeless women and men can bathe separately. Program participants are provided with soap, shampoo and towels.
Teresa Munoz Lopera, secretary for social integration for the Bogota mayor’s office, says the program began in July with services once every two weeks. Services are now offered weekly and officials hope to eventually provide them daily, she says.
Once they are freshly bathed, participants are given clean, donated clothes, along with a meal. Those who want can also get a haircut and shave or have their fingernails cut, Munoz adds. They are also offered vaccinations.
The truck can serve up to 200 people during a typical day, from 7 a.m. until the afternoon.
Munoz says the local government hopes to add a second truck to the program, which costs about $7.3 million annually.
“It’s a very big challenge,” she says. “Our task is to go looking for them.”
Here’s a gallery of images of the mobile center the local government established to serve homeless people living on the streets of Bogota.