PEORIA (WEEK) - There are some new wheels in town helping the homeless population.
Heart of Illinois United Way is debuting a new vehicle designed to help the homeless have access to hygiene.
It's called "HOWIE," which stands for "Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered."
The mobile hygiene unit is a partnership between United Way and Phoenix Community Development Services, aiding homeless people in Peoria Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton Counties.
The vehicle has two bathrooms with showers, laundry facilities, and a wheelchair lift. Hygiene products will also be given out when the vehicle hits the road by late November.
The need for such services is more dire than ever, said Jennifer Zammuto, president and CEO of Heart of Illinois United Way.
"We've known that this was a need since before COVID, and now I'm sure most citizens have experienced, you can't just walk into a restaurant and use the restroom. For folks that are un-sheltered, it's even more challenging," Zammuto said.
Funding for "HOWIE" comes from Heart of Illinois United Way's COVID-19 fund.