Shower bus in Charlotte? CATS driver has a plan

- A local woman is getting results in the Charlotte community, one bar of soap at a time. She now has a plan to combine a city bus and a shower to help combat homelessness in the Queen City.

They are life's little necessities that many of us take for granted, but for people who live on the streets sometimes the only way they can get them is from Debra Franklin. 

"Sometimes you hear the stories and it is because they were a paycheck away from paying rent," said Franklin, who has been a CATS bus driver for more than a decade.

Many stories of homelessness have been told along Franklin's CATS bus route.

"Bus drivers. They say we don't smile and things like that," Franklin said. 

But this bus driver is sending her homeless passengers off with more than just a smile. 

"People are happy that someone cares," Franklin explained. 

In the Queen City, homeless often ride cats buses for hours as a place to stay warm or dry, but if they take a ride on Debra Franklin's bus they get a free bag of toiletries.

"If you don't have a place to stay and a place to shower, how are you going to maintain a job," said Franklin.

Franklin knows her efforts can only go so far. She recently counted just 10 showers for the entire homeless population in the Queen City. So she has a dream, and of course it involves a bus.

"When you see a new bus that means another one is retiring somewhere," Franklin said. 

She wants to convert an old bus into a mobile shower unit. It's something other major cities like St. Louis and San Francisco have already done.

"If you look like me and you. Bathed, have your hair done, clean clothes. You can get a job and maintain a job," Franklin said. 

A simple dream, that could be the difference between the streets and stability. 

To learn more about the cause and how you can help, you can e-mail Debra at showerbus@outlook.com or call 704-886-8221.

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