Bathroom Brigade Pilot Program

Updated: Jun 15

Overview



What

Hui Aloha’s “Bathroom Brigades” is a pilot project to engage houseless (“homeless” or “unhoused”) residents and housed supply donors near high-use public parks or harbors, to support City/State staff in efforts to keep bathrooms open, safe, and clean during the COVID-19 outbreak. Each “Bathroom Brigade” will support one park or harbor bathroom, and will be anchored by a houseless Brigade Captain, who will help monitor, disinfect, and supplement cleaning by parks/harbors staff; a housed supply donor who will keep the Captain stocked, and Hui Aloha (HA) volunteers who will recruit both, connect them and coordinate. HA will also coordinate with the City/State and with Partners in Care -- the association of homeless services providers on Oahu. 


Why

Park bathrooms and showers are a lifeline for unhoused people in our communities, especially during COVID-19. The number of unhoused people is rising now due to mass layoffs, early release from jail/prison in response to COVID-19 fears, and dwindling “couch-surfing” options.  Shelters are also scrambling to reduce crowding, implement social distancing, and to establish protocols for dealing with symptomatic clients. CDC encourages unsheltered homeless to shelter in place rather than disbursing at this time and further advises to keep park bathrooms open 24/7 for their use. City and State workers who clean park bathrooms are on the "front lines" at a time when the risks of cleaning are largely undetermined. They could use our community’s kokua.


Goals:

  1. Provide the City/State staff with help/support needed to keep bathrooms open, safe and working during the COVID-19 outbreak

  2. Build a sense of shared kuleana, community, and pride within houseless encampments

  3. Build new working relationships between houseless residents, housed neighborhood donors, HPD, and City staff that benefit the wider community beyond caring for our bathrooms


How

Hui Aloha, in consultation with other outreach providers, will recruit houseless Brigade Captains living near high-use bathrooms, brief them, and supply them with a cleaning kit, cell phone (supply permitting) and laminated posters with tips for bathroom kokua and COVID-19 safety.  HA will also recruit housed volunteers willing to donate cleaning supplies to keep Captains stocked up. HA will connect Captains with supply donors and provide a suggested protocol for transferring supplies, staying connected to each other, and interacting with police, park staff, or others. 


HA will pilot first with Waimanalo Beach Park, Ala Moana-Kewalo, and Pu’uhonua O Waianae (POW). POW is already leading the way (and winning praise from State DLNR), and HA will share lessons and best practices across the 3 sites over two weeks.  On or about Apr 15, HA will expand to 3 additional sites.  


Beyond the initial 6 sites, HA will develop a toolkit for use by outreach agencies and neighborhood volunteers to replicate in their own neighborhoods. Target date is end of April. 




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