After thefts, plumber needs funds to build ‘Empowerment Bus’ for homeless

Feb 8, 2024, 7:31 AM | Updated: 9:31 am

Joe Bowers Empowerment Bus...

A Graham man needs the public's help in turning this bus into a way to help the homeless. (Photo: Joe Bowers)

(Photo: Joe Bowers)

A Graham plumber suffered a devastating and costly theft that set him back $70,000 and put his plans to help the homeless in his community on hold.

Joe Bowers owns Bowers Plumbing and Remodel. He wants to rebuild a trashed bus into a resource for homeless people with ways to get a haircut, shower and other spa services.

He calls it the Empowerment Bus. Bowers was on his way to working on the bus when thieves stole $70,000 of equipment from his business. The very equipment he needed to restore the bus.

“Plumbing tools are expensive, materials are expensive, and all this stuff has gone up like crazy,” Bowers told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “We have insurance but the insurance rates go up like crazy.”

Bowers has set up a GoFundMe page to reignite this passion project of his vision.

Bowers bus interior

The inside of the bus Joe Bowers wants to renovate. (Photo courtesy of Joe Bowers)

“I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the bus, how we can how we can make a positive impact or turning something negative into a positive kind of thing,” Bowers said. “I started this two years ago and haven’t only gotten it off the ground, but decided I should make what I’m going to call the Empowerment Bus. So it’s just empowering people to feel better about themselves so I want to also help the community.”

Bowers says he is trying to get the community involved in his project.

“People complain about all the garbage homeless people leave, but no one’s really doing much about it,” Bowers said to Rantz.

Bowers feels he has a solution to the problem and when complete, he will ask hopeless people to collect garbage and bring it to the bus.

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“Two or three bags of garbage is worth a shower and a haircut,” Bowers explained. “So they’re cleaning up the community while getting a fresh start and feeling good about themselves.”

Bowers said the bus will have toiletries like feminine hygiene products and will be able to provide haircuts and showers. He hopes to take the bus all around the area so he can serve many communities.

“I’m hoping to inspire a movement of people just trying to make the world better,” he said. “I hear a lot of complaining, but that doesn’t do anything. You can’t even go down the steps of the courthouse or the capitol without seeing trash.”

He said the Empowerment Bus and those like it will help with the cleanup while assisting homeless people as well.

“I’ve been doing this all my own; it just was my business because I want to be a better person,” Bowers explained. “The only thing you can do is make a change and be an example.”

He said it doesn’t cost him a lot of money, but he is looking for help through his GoFundMe page.

“My goal is hopefully to inspire some change and maybe homeless people committing crimes because of their situation.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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After thefts, plumber needs funds to build ‘Empowerment Bus’ for homeless