We all know that taking a shower and wearing clean clothes is essential when heading to a job interview, but imagine being homeless and needing to find work. Without a place to live, let alone access to a washer and dryer, how would you clean your clothes?
This is where The Laundry Truck (TLT) comes in. A mobile laundromat, TLT was born after Denver social services agency Bayaud Enterprises retired a commercial truck in the spring of 2016. Rather than sell it, they created this laundromat on wheels to help people in Denver who are experiencing homelessness or extreme poverty.
“I think it’s a real creative way to do something that breaks barriers to employment down,” Bayaud Enterprises executive director David Henninger told the Denver Post. If you don’t have clean clothes, that’s a barrier.”
The truck began operating on April 3, with three main goals: to alleviate issues associated with laundry service for those who need help, to provide job training and small business development and to educate and do outreach for those experiencing mental illness and homelessness.
The way it works is simple: The truck has washers and dryers that connect to water lines as it travels around Denver. It includes six washer and dryers, a sink and water heater, as well as a place for folding and storing laundry.
Here's a quick look at the layout of our Laundry Truck for the Homeless concept. To make this a reality, we need your…
According to the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), there were an estimated 5,467 homeless people in Denver in 2016. Of those surveyed by the MDHI, 53.4 percent say they have been homeless for one year or more.
TLT says they can do 8,250 loads of laundry a year by operating three days a week, eight hours a day. That means the truck can help many of Denver’s chronically homeless people restore some dignity by helping them clean their clothes.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Jeff Tejral, Denver water manager of conservation, told the Denver Post. “When they explained that it was part of a barrier to get a job and keep a job, that was really important (for us).”
This is definitely an idea worth spreading. We’re hoping to see mobile laundry trucks popping up in cities all over the country soon.