April 3, 2017, 2:26 p.m.
This month, Bayaud Enterprises , a Denver nonprofit, is launching Colorado's first mobile laundry service for those individuals and families challenged by homelessness. It is only the second program of its kind in the United States. The Laundry Truck is part of a larger mission that provides community resources for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Citywide Banks is proud to help fund this pioneering project.
Maintaining positive hygiene is critical for individuals attempting to emerge from homelessness or extreme poverty. The stereotype of the homeless individual includes many misconceptions that are often driven by something as simple as a dirty shirt. Primary hygiene needs such as laundry become secondary as individuals focus on the most basic acts of survival. This is part of the cycle that locks people into poverty. Without access to free and accessible laundry services, it is difficult to attain a job or housing.
The goals for the Laundry Truck Project include:
- To alleviate the cost, health, and safety issues associated with laundry services for people experiencing extreme poverty and/or homelessness
- To provide job training for people experiencing extreme poverty and/or homelessness (0-30% AMI). The Laundry Truck Project will also provide opportunity for small business development through generation of earned income
- To help hard to reach individuals and families (such as single Moms and children living in vehicles), and provide information regarding how to access community resources
The Laundry Truck design maximizes functionality with 6 stacked washer and dryer units running the length of the truck, a utility sink, operator and outreach desk, a folding table and a water heater. In its first year, the truck will service the target community three days per week, eight hours a day. The projected number of loads of laundry for the first year is 8,250 loads for people experiencing poverty. Concurrently, the project will pursue a fee-for-service model utilizing the truck for earned revenue opportunities.