'Divas' provide dignity for homeless

Eric Wilkinson reports.

SEATTLE-- From the back of her car, Nikki Gane plots out her mission. She puts lipsticks, lotions and feminine products into purple plastic bags and hits the streets of Everett.

Gane and her two-woman crew are reporting for "diva duty."

"Everyone has an inner diva," she said.

Gane was once an underwriter for the banking industry, but a divorce left her living in her car.

"What I went through was not the worst case scenario, but it's a slippery slope," she said. "It's like going uphill with skates on. You never get anywhere."

Gane said when you're female and on the street, it's especially demoralizing. Just maintaining basic cleanliness is a challenge.

On Friday, her organization "Dignity for Divas," distributed  250 hygiene kits to women – and men -- on the streets of Everett. Her groups work from Everett to Tacoma. Gane believes no one can even begin to get a job if they have no way to simply brush their teeth.

"If you had $5 are you gonna eat or are you gonna buy a toothbrush and some soap?" She asked. "You're gonna eat."

Some say the Divas are enabling the homeless by not allowing them to hit their rock bottom, but Gane doesn't see it that way.

"Helping someone make it to the next level is not enabling, especially with basic needs. We're talking about basic hygiene."

And while there are many on the streets whose problems can't be washed away with a bar of soap, Gane believes a bit of dignity is a good start.

"We are all in this together," she said.

For information about opening your own chapter or donating to the cause click here.

Copyright 2016 KING


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