Architecture students design portable showers to help OC unhoused community

Irene Cruz Image
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Architecture students design portable showers for the unhoused in OC
Architecture students in Orange County have put their knowledge and skills toward a good cause: building portable showers for the homeless.

YORBA LINDA, Calif. (KABC) -- Local architecture students in Orange County are putting their knowledge and skills to good use, as they have teamed up with community leaders to design and build portable showers for the homeless.

Students from Citrus College have teamed up with Hillside Los Angeles and Cal State Los Angeles to get the project up and running.

Pastor Sam Koh of Hillside L.A. said the initiative started when students thought about how their newly obtained skills could impact the community.

"How can we, with all the things we are learning, really impact our immediate community and our society? Especially those who are in need? Our neighbors? Our friends?" Koh said.

The portable showers are made inside trailers. Koh said the portable showers will be helpful to people who do not want to leave their encampment.

"When they leave their encampment, their stuff is vulnerable. It's susceptible to theft and whatnot, so they don't want to go outside their encampment," he said.

The project also serves as a learning experience for the achitecture students involved, who get to obtain hands-on experience along with doing a good deed.

"It gives us something real, something to actually go and see how its built, why its built and why things work the way they work. And that's not something you can learn sitting at a computer," said Sebastian John Stjernbo.

And, the portable showers will also utilize green energy. Professor Tommy Richard Reyes of the Architecture and Drafting department at Citrus College, said the portable showers will be partially powered by solar panels.

"We aren't going to have an unlimited supply of electricity. So we use solar panels to recharge the battery and keep them going," said Reyes.

The shower will also have water tanks attached to the trailer, a ramp for users in wheelchairs and privacy stalls.

The tanks can store up to 750 pounds -- or 10 to 20 showers worth of water -- at a time.

"It teaches us about the community problems out here, which will help us when we get into the architecture field because we are problem-solvers," said Stjernbo.