Giving new meaning to the term open house, David Van Ostrand is opening the doors of his City Heights home to help the homeless by allowing them to take showers inside.
"If I can help, I will," said Von Ostrand. "There is no discrimination."
Van Ostrand is also offering up fresh clothes and free meals to those in need. His efforts are funded in part through donations he’s solicited through an online neighborhood forum.
The former Air Force personal affairs specialist told NBC 7, the decision to provide free showers to the homeless community was sparked by the frustration of what he had seen for years in the alley outside his home.
"People camping out in my driveway, defecating, urinating, sex, needles you name it. I tried calling the police and that didn’t work," he said.
But what did work was conversations leading to self-realization, Van Ostrand said.
"I've been close to homeless. I've got a lot of problems health-wise," he said. "I've had some setbacks financially and it could easily be me."
Since opening up his home this past week, Van Ostrand said three people have come for showers. Two of them were an elderly couple he's now helping apply for benefits.
"Their story is sad," said Van Ostrand. "I don’t know the whole thing but that doesn't matter. Let's help them and see if we can get them out of the situation."
Van Ostrand said he pounds the pavement in City Heights and area parks for people in need.
"I kind of interview them through the questions I ask. It's kind of like a subvert vetting if you will," he said.
But his neighbor's opinions are mixed.
"I think it’s a good idea. I think it's very kind of that person to do," said neighbor Ermes Guerrero.
But neighbor Dewayne Tharpe said precautions need to be taken.
"You don’t know who you’re letting in your home, but yes, everyone needs a hand," he said.