Lighter Loads ATX, a faith-based non-profit organization based out of Austin, Texas, is looking for a way to serve Austin’s homeless community. The organization has been donating and handing out food to Austin’s homeless since 2018, but as reported by KXAN, this year they’ve set their sights on providing basic hygiene services to help uplift the homeless community to put their best, most confident, foot forward.
On March 16th, Lighter Loads ATX partnered up with Dallas-based organization Streetside Showers to set up stations for Austin’s homeless to get a shower, haircut, clothing and food. The dream for the non-profit moving forward is to set-up similar mobile stations around Austin each Saturday, with a focus on North Austin. Co-founder James Ritchie told KXAN, “When you get further North, it is so far to get into downtown. They just don’t have the luxury of getting down that far.”
They eventually are looking to purchase their own mobile shower unit with a 400-gallon water tank that has two showers and includes a washer and dryer for the community to wash their clothes, in addition to the other free services they provide.
The City of Austin told KXAN that as long as the trailer and stations are on private property, the non-profit organization doesn’t need any additional permits to help out the homeless. Lighter Loads ATX says they have a few churches around Austin that have given them permission to hook up the trailers to their buildings and set up stations for the homeless on their property.
Crystal has been coming to AFTS Open Studio for more than 5 years and tries to attend once a week “so that I feel like I’m doing something - life’s not just passing me by. I have something to look forward to.”
“Life can draw you away from your real talent, and AFTS helped me rediscover an old talent. [AFTS] gave me the opportunity to rekindle that talent.”
During these times of lock down, social distancing and increasingly less human connection, we are determined to bring our artists and others experiencing homelessness an opportunity for self-expression and creative relief to combat the increasing risk of depression and isolation.