By Victoria Stone-Meadows
A charity organisation based in the south-east that gives homeless people the opportunity for a hot shower has been awarded a grant to expand the size of its operation.
Clean as Casper applied for the Dreams for a Better World grant from Sunsuper in January and found out on 9 March that it had received the $25,000 top prize.
Co-founder of Clean as Casper Steve Winterton from Kooweerup said he and his team were happy just get to the final round of grants, let alone win the top prize.
“We were happy just to get in the grand finale – we were really excited about that,” he said.
“Then to win was just ridiculous, they read the winners in reverse order so when we were announced as winners we couldn’t believe it.”
Clean as Casper team members were flown to Sydney to attend the ceremony where they beat out 670 other applicants to be awarded the grant money.
Mr Winterton said he will be using the money to upgrade the operation from a single portable shower on a trailer to a rolling en suite in the back of a truck.
“We interviewed all our homeless clients and asked them what they really wanted from the service,” Mr Winterton said.
“We are going with only one shower for privacy because we often cater for victims of sexual and physical abuse who may not feel safe and might need a bit more space.
“We’ve got enough to buy our truck now which will have a bigger shower, a spot for hairdressing, as well as we are hoping to bring on a couple of volunteer nurses for health checks and free flu shots.”
The latest round of funding from Sunsuper will see Clean as Casper being able to offer more showers to homeless people in Pakenham, Cranbourne, Frankston and surrounding areas.
“We average about 50 showers a week at the moment but that is not all we do,” Mr Winterton said.
“We see well over 200 people a week and we give them a place to talk to other people and connect with other services.”
“It goes a lot deeper than just giving people a chance to have a shower.”
The Clean as Casper shower trailer currently operates on Monday night in Narre Warren, Tuesday night in Pakenham,
Wednesday morning in Chelsea, Wednesday night in Cranbourne, Thursday night in Frankston, Friday night in Melbourne City, and Saturday night in Dandenong.