12NewsAZ:Mobile service offers shower, laundry and haircut services to Valley homeless

Cloud Covered Streets takes its mobile unit around the Valley. It provides free showers and other necessities for people who live on the streets.

PHOENIX — The sweltering summer temperatures and record-breaking heat are especially hard on Arizonans who are homeless.

While dangerous temperatures hit the desert, Cloud Covered Streets takes its mobile unit around the Valley. It provides free showers and other necessities for people who live on the streets.

The program rescued Steve Kookan from a life on the streets years ago. When asked where he’d be without the program, it was tough for Kookan to answer.

“Oh geeze, I don’t want to answer that question,” Kookan said. “It scares me.”

Kookan is not alone in steering clear of the thought. Phoenix’s homeless, a life Kookan knows personally, come to Cloud Covered Streets for mobile showers during the Valley’s record-breaking heat wave.

“If they go through our service from start to finish, they get awesome hookup,” Kookan said. “They get clothes, they get a snack, and they get a hygiene kit.”

Cloud Covered Streets mobile laundry and showers pop up around Phoenix on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. The program supports people who are homeless, Robert Thornton, executive director, said.

“What we do is important every day, but right now especially,” Thornton said.

Thornton’s said his program gave more than 50 showers on a single Friday in July. The services, more than just the opportunity to clean up.

“They receive a new t-shirt, new pair of underwear, new socks, new shorts, we have sports bras for the women,” Thornton said. “So they can completely put on a new wardrobe that’s not sweat soaked and they can feel like a new person coming out.”

Thornton’s service runs on donations and people like Kookan.

“I’m one of Robert’s first employees,” Kookan said. “I met him in October 2014.”

A chance meeting washing away Kookan’s path of homelessness. He’s been on Thornton’s team for nearly a decade now.

“I just want to emphasize that it’s a working program and it helps, because it helped me,” he said.

Cloud Covered Streets is always looking for donations and volunteers. Thornton said it costs between $30,000 to $45,000 dollars a month to operate the mobile showers.

They’re always looking for donations and volunteers.

The Circle the City mobile healthcare unit can also be found providing primary care services to people who are homeless, next to Cloud Covered Streets. In 2023, Wendy Adams, Community Outreach Supervisor for Circle the City, said they’re seeing a rise in heat-related injuries.

“There’s more heat stroke, there’s more heat exhaustion, and just the need to be hydrated,” Adams said. “We are able to share kindness kits where they can have hygiene, we have water, we put electrolytes in there and we’re providing cooling towels so we can get some water on those and people can cool themselves down.”

Preston Niebergall is homeless and benefited from Circle the City’s healthcare services.

“I have really badly burned arms,” Niebergall said. “I was doing some day labor and I was walking under a scaffold where they were doing welding and I basically took a shower in fire. We, when we’re out here, we don’t get any kind of care. We can’t get our wounds dressed. We can’t get taken care of. It’s awesome to have circle the city taking care of us.”

The locations where Cloud Covered Streets set up, many times have connections with a lot of resources from heat relief, to medical care, counseling, food and showers. The mobile unit can be found in Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa and the program’s director tells me he hopes to be in Tempe soon too.

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