Serving homeless people with hope, one shower at a time

"Every homeless person has a story," says Jason Winter, right, founder of Hope Thru Soap.

Story highlights

  • Hope Thru Soap is a mobile unit that provides free showers to homeless people
  • "Something as small as a shower gives them hope," says Hope Thru Soap's founder

(CNN)Every weekend, Jason Winter hooks his shiny aluminum 12-foot long trailer to the back of his SUV and heads to metro Atlanta, where he provides homeless people with a sanitary and private space to bathe. The unit is furnished with a shower, a toilet, hot water, heat and air conditioning, but more importantly, it comes equipped with hope.

Throughout his life, the 41-year-old account manager has come across men and women in poverty-stricken areas covered in grime, lacking basic human needs like clean water and clothing.
    "If I saw a homeless person in the street I would always try to have some kind of interaction with them," he said. "No one asks to be homeless, so if I could help them in any way, I did."
    In 2016, Winter's fervor to help turned into a free-service program called "Hope Thru Soap." It offers an alternative to homeless shelters' jam-packed lavatories. His nonprofit, with a healthy social media following, has a simple mission: to offer "showers and love to those in need."
    The mobile unit comes with a shower, a toilet, hot water, heat and air conditioning.
    One "Hope Thru Soap" user, Nathan, lost his home recently and found the mobile unit while walking through a park. He hadn't showered in three days.
    "I am really feeling refreshed and I thank God for [Jason] for bringing this shower to us," he said in a Facebook post. "So much dirt came off of me."
    "Something as small as a shower gives them hope," said Winter. "When you're clean you're less likely to want to sleep under a bridge. A shower might make them want to get out and find work."
    Free baths require a water supply and toiletries. Until now, Winter has scraped funds out of his own pocket to pay for it.
    He is trying to raise $10,000 for supplies and a fire hydrant meter, which would allow him unlimited water from any hydrant in the city.
    "It's a great feeling to help these people but I don't do it for myself," said Winter. "I do it for the folks that can't speak for themselves and don't really have hope left. We bring them hope."