[UPDATE] CAS students work to help homeless in NYC

Avani Hegde, Contributing Writer

A nonprofit organization founded by two NYU students seeks to alleviate the conditions experienced by homeless people in New York City.

Showered with Hope Inc. was created by CAS junior Apurva Parikh and CAS sophomore David Lin and aims to provide basic necessities such as food, water and clothing.

Parikh and Lin were inspired to start their organization after hearing of San Franciscan company Lava Mae, which takes decommissioned buses and turns them into showers for the homeless.

The two hope to bring this concept of reusing buses to help the homeless in the area.

“[Lava Mae] is on the other side of the country and a corresponding service doesn’t exist here, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring buses here and turn them into mobile showers,” Parikh said. “But we also want to provide them with clothes and help them find employment opportunities.”

As of now, Parikh, Lin and the rest of their team are working on the logistics of their organization. Although they have their idea in place, they are looking for ways to obtain buses and water.

“The best way is to get [donations] from bus companies, and we have a potential donor,” Lin said. “If that doesn’t work, we may buy a used bus.”

Parikh and Lin would like to use a water system — in which they take a certain amount of water and continue to recycle and reuse it — as something to separate themselves from Lava Mae in terms of how they obtain water.

“We’re going to advocate to be eco-friendly by using a gray water filtration system,” Lin said.

In the upcoming weeks, Parikh and Lin will organize several small-scale fundraisers to help shoulder their large finances. They are planning to fund their project in a variety of ways, including bake sales and donation letters.

They will also participate in the Reynolds Changemaker Challenge and the $200K Entrepreneurs Challenge through the Stern School of Business to potentially receive grants for their organization.

“We plan on writing a lot of grant papers to secure large sums of money,” Parikh said. “We want companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook to back us.”

To involve NYU students in the organization, Parikh and Lin are trying to start a club called Showered with Hope.*

“The point of the club is to provide manpower for the projects and for students to get hands-on experience and raise awareness about homelessness,” Parikh said.

While the team works on the logistics, it hopes to organize volunteer events such as a midnight run, in which they deliver food to homeless people around the city.

Ultimately, the nonprofit and the club could give NYU students a chance to make a difference locally and provide essentials to the community.

“We pass homeless people every day,” Lin said. “It’s unsettling to pass by the same faces every day. It’s like I know these people, but I don’t do anything.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 29 print edition. Email Avani Hegde at [email protected].

*Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the club name was Shower with Hobos. WSN regrets the error.