The former Lynnwood emissions test station has been temporarily repurposed to provide showers and bathroom facilities for those who are homeless.
Last week, the Jean Kim Foundation — in partnership with the City of Lynnwood and the Verdant Health Commission — began offering free showers and restrooms to the homeless community at the former Lynnwood Applus test station, located at 19726 64th Ave. W. in Lynnwood. The station closed at the end of last year.
When businesses deemed nonessential closed their doors last month to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive, it affected many homeless individuals who rely on places like coffee shops for restrooms. In addition, public facilities like libraries have also closed tothe public, leaving fewer restroom options.
Since offering the service, the station has provided more than 50 showers, said Jean Kim Foundation Services Coordinator Jason Dunbar. Two restrooms and one shower are available for use at the facility. Due to the size of the station’s hot water heater, roughly two showers can be taken per hour.
Services are available seven days a week, with bathrooms available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and showers available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
According to Dunbar, some have suggested he offer other services — like hot meals — at the site. However, he said the goal is to minimize the number of people visiting the station at one time.
“I think we’re going to keep it about where we’re at,” he said.
Organizers are encouraging social distancing by not allowing more than five people at the location at a time, Dunbar said. A sign-up sheet is available to make a reservation for a shower if too many people arrive onsite. To enforce social distancing standards at the station, two Edmonds College students are onsite to monitor the shower schedule.
“The idea is stay 6 feet apart and we’re doing that to the best of our ability,” said Edmonds College student Pedro Da Cruz.
Other community partners like Showers to the People — a mobile unit that offers free showers in Snohomish County — and the Lynnwood Recreation Center have donated items like towels and toiletries. Additionally, Poulsbo RV donated a trailer for the students who are onsite monitoring the station.
Verdant is funding the joint venture and as of now, are set to keep the service running for three months, said Lynnwood City Council President Christine Frizzell. With Gov. Inslee’s directive encouraging businesses to remain closed through May 4, Frizzell said there is still uncertainty about how long the station will continue to offer showers.
“It’s like everything else, we’re changing, as we figure out what the need is and what the capacity is,” she said.
For more information or to make a donation, contact Jason Dunbar at 425-215-9827.
–Story and photo by Cody Sexton