Salvation Army to offer shower, laundry facilities in Greenfield 

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 01-20-2023 12:18 AM

GREENFIELD — In the four months Robert Ramirez has lived in Greenfield, he’s had nowhere to take a warm shower, or wash and dry his clothes.

“I’m not the only one,” said Ramirez, 37, who said he’s been living in a tent while he waits for a bed to open at the Wells Street shelter. “With the snow and the rain, it’s tough … especially when my tent leaks and my clothes, my blanket get wet. There’s nowhere for me to wash and dry them.”

All that’s in the past now, though, he said, after learning those services would once again be available at The Salvation Army on Chapman Street.

“Thank God,” he said. “That’s really good news.”

After several years offline during the pandemic, the showers at The Salvation Army opened this week, along with new laundry facilities on the way — news that comes as a relief to people tuned into local issues of homelessness.

“Resources for people who don’t have housing, laundry, showers, is crucial in general,” said Conway resident Mary McClintock. “I think it’s fabulous.”

The shower facility, which was renovated during the three-year closure, reopened for use at 72 Chapman St. on Wednesday, according to Salvation Army Lt. Paul Leslie. The two showers will be open Monday to Friday from 9 to 11 a.m., between the breakfast and lunch services, he said.

Hours for the laundry services, which will be available beginning Monday, will also be from 9 to 11 a.m.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Frontier’s response to report of sexual misconduct on campus draws parents’ ire
‘Glamping’ resort proposed in Charlemont
Patrons can ‘walk down memory lane’ at Sweet Phoenix’s new Greenfield location
Primo Restaurant & Pizzeria in South Deerfield under new ownership
Post-pandemic hardship prompts Between The Uprights closure in Turners Falls
After 10 years at Hillcrest Elementary, Burstein accepts job as Bernardston principal

“We realized that for the number of years that the shower facilities had been available, in most cases, folks were putting the same clothes back on,” Leslie explained, noting that prior to closing in 2020, the showers had been available for about five years at the site on Chapman Street. “We thought, from the standpoint of the folks we’re serving, for them to be able to put on clean clothes after they’ve taken a shower, it’ll be more beneficial for folks.”

Leslie said The Salvation Army was able to buy the two washers and dryers thanks to a $3,000 grant it received last June from the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region.

Dane Kuttler, coordinator of the Franklin County Resource Network, which is sponsored by Community Action Pioneer Valley, said the need for a “safe place to take showers and do laundry for unhoused individuals” was identified by the group as a priority that needed to be addressed by local officials and legislators.

She said where these services were available became a question after Clinical & Support Options (CSO) shared with the Franklin County Resource Network that The Living Room on Federal Street would be relocating to the One Arch Place business center. A program called Safe Haven is in its place at 296 Federal St., which is funded by a Department of Mental Health grant. The program provides shelter to seven people with symptoms of mental illness who may otherwise be homeless.

“The answers came back sparse to none,” she said of the availability of shower facilities. “People suggested gym memberships, but that was sort of the limit. Somebody asked about Salvation Army and confirmed their showers … were closed. To hear that’s opening back up is terrific.”

Speaking on behalf of the Franklin County Resource Network, Kuttler said it was a relief to hear these two “essential services” will be available once again.

Both services will be free, Leslie said. He noted that The Salvation Army is accepting laundry pod donations, particularly ones that would be suitable for sensitive skin.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

]]>