Utah school installs showers and washing machines for homeless students to use

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Washing machines and showers have been installed in the laundry room for homeless students: Screenshot

A high school in Utah has installed showers and washing machines for its homeless students in a bid to encourage attendance.

Officials at Salt Lake City’s East High School said homelessness was a real issue in the community and they believe up to 100 of their students do not have daily access to a shower or washing machine.

The school has now installed two wash rooms, with a shower and a washing machine and dryer, that students can use before, during or after school.

"I don't want to go to work if I don't have clean clothes, I don't want to go to work if I wasn't able to shower," Principal Greg Maughan told Fox13.

"It's to feel like they fit in, to feel like they are part of something, and they don't stand out. And the more likely they are to attend, the more likely they are to succeed in class, to graduate and to move on to college and a career."

Senior student Emily Beatse said some students are “sneaky” and use the theatre department's washing facilities on a Saturday when they know no one will be around.

"A lot of them don't have them in their own homes, and a lot of them are afraid to ask like their friends or someone else," she said.

The school has a particularly humanitarian approach, and each week volunteers stock shelves in the school's free food pantry.

Chapman-Richards Cares, a local non-profit group, donated the washing machine.

The new wash rooms are scheduled to open next week, and students are trying to give them a creative name. Suggestions reportedly include The Leopard Lounge or Leopard Laundry.

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