About Us

Established in 2018

Mission

To maintain a safe, welcoming outreach program providing mobile hygiene services for our unhoused neighbors who lack access to showers and running water.

Vision

To bring mobile hygiene services to our unhoused neighbors in Thurston County, WA. To show compassion and provide safety for our unhoused neighbors, with dignity and respect.

Values

  • Helping humans meet basic needs
  • Building community through service
  • Compassion, dignity and respect

The Need

Frequently Asked Questions

Meet our Team

Our Sponsors

We are creating a Mobile Village of Care that is set around hygiene services (showers, laundry, toilets, handwashing stations), and other local service providers to bring the network to the people. Those who want and need services such as food, clothing, information, and community find safety and compassion at Build A Bus Home.

Access to showers, laundry, and grooming is assumed to be so commonly available that we don’t usually think about lack of access to such basics needs as experienced by underserved groups such as the mentally ill, unaccompanied youth, the developmentally disabled, LGBTQ residents, minority groups, the addicted, people fleeing from domestic violence, eviction/loss of housing, and job loss.  All of these groups are represented among the homeless. By restoring dignity and access to the homeless, access also improves for these underserved groups.  Additionally, those in the unsheltered homeless population find it harder to compete for work opportunities and for housing opportunities in Thurston County’s highly competitive housing market. There is a significant number of highly-educated and skilled individuals in the homeless population who still find it difficult to compete for work opportunities. Access to basic hygiene services is one step toward creating a more equitable landscape for homeless people as they seek jobs and homes and join with the community at large. 

Join us in making a difference!

– Lisa Gillotti, Founder and Executive Director

The Need

Thurston County declared homelessness to be a public health crisis in 2018.  In the 2020 Continuum of Care report to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington State ranked 3rd in levels of chronic homelessness behind CA and NY, with 6,756 individuals identifying as chronically homeless.  Overall homeless counts in Washington State were 22,923, 5th in the nation behind CA, NY, TX, and FL.  This report also showed a troubling trend between 2007 and 2020 where the utilization capacity of shelter beds available to homeless individuals was on average only 48%.  This translates to 584 beds remaining empty while 8,930 people were sleeping unsheltered in 2020.  In Thurston County, WA the 2019 Point In Time Count reported 800 homeless individuals:  31% were chronically homeless with 70% having been unhoused for more than one year. The 2020 PIT Count showed a 24% increase in homeless individuals over 2019 with 54% of those persons living unsheltered.  Chronic homelessness is indeed a crisis in our area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do we serve?

We welcome all guests who are homeless and in need of showers. The services are provided in Thurston County in locations accessible by homeless guests. We know that our guests come from locations such as encampments, shelters, and tiny house villages where the target populations are located. We are equipped for use of our facilities by people with disabilities, including wheelchairs.

Who are our supporters?

Build A Bus Home works closely with faith communities, Partners in Prevention Education, SideWalk, Interfaith Works, Catholic Community Services, and Olympia Mutual Aid Partners and we coordinate with these service providers through the Greater Olympia Workers League (GROWL), municipal and county homeless service providers.

How do we deliver our services?

Build A Bus Home is a completely volunteer-run program. We receive support from faith communities, municipalities, Thurston County, The Community Foundation, businesses, grantors, and individuals.

How can I help?

Volunteer. Donate. Spread the word.

How will I feel comfortable with an unfamiliar population?

We are committed to our volunteers feeling appreciated, prepared and safe. We offer multiple training opportunities both virtual and on-site. We also have weekly Round Table support calls to share and learn about our experiences. Please see our Volunteer Page for more information.

What is the time commitment?

On-site volunteering is flexible and is in 4- hour shifts. You can sign up weekly, monthly or whatever fits your schedule on SignUpGenius. We do have virtual volunteer opportunities that can range up to 25 hours/month. Please see all of our opportunities on Volunteer Match.

Who is our Board of Directors?

We are so fortunate to have compassionate and talented members of our community serving on our Board of Directors. Please meet them here.

Our Sponsors and Faith Partners

Generosity beyond compare. Thank you to all of our generous sponsors and faith partners.

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Our Shower Power Hosts and Sponsors

Unity of Olympia

United Churches of Olympia

Evergreen Christian Community

Saint Benedict Episcopal Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

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