Data

General Issues
Housing
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Homelessness
Public Amenities
Poverty
Location
Los Angeles
California
United States
Scope of Influence
Neighbourhood
Videos
Laundry Truck LA Does Laundry for the Homeless
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Approach
Independent action
Social mobilization
Spectrum of Public Participation
Not applicable or not relevant
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All With Special Effort to Recruit Some Groups
Targeted Demographics
Low-Income Earners
General Types of Methods
Community development, organizing, and mobilization
Informal participation
Informal conversation spaces
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Manage and/or allocate money or resources
Recruit or select participants
Inform, educate and/or raise awareness
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Crowdfunding
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Not applicable
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Information & Learning Resources
Not Relevant to this Type of Initiative
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Not Applicable
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Type of Funder
For-Profit Business
Individual
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

CASE

The Laundry Truck LA

General Issues
Housing
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Homelessness
Public Amenities
Poverty
Location
Los Angeles
California
United States
Scope of Influence
Neighbourhood
Videos
Laundry Truck LA Does Laundry for the Homeless
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Approach
Independent action
Social mobilization
Spectrum of Public Participation
Not applicable or not relevant
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All With Special Effort to Recruit Some Groups
Targeted Demographics
Low-Income Earners
General Types of Methods
Community development, organizing, and mobilization
Informal participation
Informal conversation spaces
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Manage and/or allocate money or resources
Recruit or select participants
Inform, educate and/or raise awareness
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Crowdfunding
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Not applicable
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Information & Learning Resources
Not Relevant to this Type of Initiative
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Not Applicable
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Type of Funder
For-Profit Business
Individual
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

A mobile laundry service offering free clothes washing to unhoused individuals and families in downtown and greater Los Angeles.

Problems and Purpose

The Laundry Truck LA began in response to the growing number of homeless individuals in LA County. The initiative works to build awareness of the need for clean clothing and to provide washing services to the homeless population free of charge. According to its founder Jodie Dolan, “clean clothing is an essential part of healthy hygiene and overall self-esteem. the laundry truck la aims to restore a bit of dignity and hope to our local homeless communities.”[1] Access to clean clothing and proper hygiene can aid individuals in getting a job, getting housing, and fully participating in public life.

Background History and Context

The Laundry Truck LA was started by fashion designer Jodie Dolan whose shop in the LA Fashion District sits alongside Skid Row: the epicenter of the city’s housing crisis. According to census data, Los Angeles county has more than 55,000 homeless people[2] - a number that increased by 16% over 2018.[3] Without access to clean clothing and proper hygiene, many of the homeless are unable to fully participate in public life.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The Laundry Truck LA is a registered charity and development and fundraising efforts for its services are led by Dolan Group Inc., a Los Angeles-based fashion company. The initiative is largely funded through crowdfunding, t-shirt sales, and in-kind donations such as volunteering.[4] The initiative recently received a $30,000 grant and cleaning products from Clorox as part of its “What Comes Next” campaign, which provides support for community-service projects focussed on hygiene and cleanliness.[5]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

The Laundry Truck operates in two locations, two days a week and is open to all unhoused individuals in need of laundry services.[6] The service appears to operate on good faith and people are not asked to ‘prove’ that they are homeless.

Methods and Tools Used

The Laundry Truck LA is an example of direct community action and service provision. By providing services to a community in need, LTLA empowers the disadvantaged and helps them participate more fully in public life.

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The Laundry Truck LA is parked in Huntington Park on Thursdays and Highland Park on Saturdays. Individuals requiring its services simply drop off their clothing for LTLA volunteers to wash, dry, and fold. The truck operates next to other service providers that offer food, haircuts, showers, and clothing. In Huntington Park on Thursdays, the Truck’s clients can access shows from ‘Showers of Hope’ and pick up food and supplies from the Parroquia Sagrada Familia church. Showers of Hope also accompanies LTLA on Saturdays. The free services allow clients to save upwards of $7 which can then be spent on other needs and amenities.[7]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

By its own figures, Laundry Truck LA has the potential to help 4,000-6,000 individuals per year.[8]According to on-the-ground reporting by Invisible People, TLTA provides more than clean clothes: “Some people come just for the food. Others come for all the services. These gatherings give homeless people an opportunity to socialize and network. It gives them a sense of community.”[9] While it is just one example, the services offered by TLTA have reportedly had their desired effect, helping at least one homeless resident prepare for a job interview and use their saved money for food and transportation.[10] 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

After visiting the Laundry Truck LA and the community it serves, journalist Lexis-Olivier Ray reported that the main obstacles to service provision are cost and getting the word out to people with limited access to lines of communication. According to one resident, although the Huntington Park community is tight-knit, many still do not know about the Truck or accompanying service providers.[11] However, the initiative was only started in January 2019 and, according to the initiative’s website, they have surpassed the half-way point of their $150,000 fundraising goal.[12]

See Also

 Crowdfunding

Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils

References

[1] The Laundry Truck LA, https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/

[2] Morain, Dan, ‘A walk along Skid Row in Los Angeles—block by bleak block’, CalMatters, https://calmatters.org/poverty/2018/06/a-walk-along-skid-row-in-los-angeles-block-by-bleak-block/

[3] The Laundry Truck LA, https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/

[4] The Laundry Truck LA, ‘Donate’, https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/donate

[5] Good News Network, ‘This Laundry Truck Will Be Washing Clothes for Homeless People of Los Angeles Throughout the Week’, https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/this-laundry-truck-will-be-washing-clothes-for-homeless-people-of-los-angeles-throughout-the-week/

[6] The Laundry Truck LA, ‘Locations’, https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/locations

[7] Ray, Lexis-Olivier, ‘Laundry Truck LA Helps Give Homeless People a Fresh Start’, https://invisiblepeople.tv/laundry-truck-la-helps-give-homeless-people-a-fresh-start/

[8] The Laundry Truck LA, https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/

[9] Ray, Lexis-Olivier, ‘Laundry Truck LA Helps Give Homeless People a Fresh Start’, https://invisiblepeople.tv/laundry-truck-la-helps-give-homeless-people-a-fresh-start/

[10] Jada Montemarano, ‘Free Laundry Service for the Homeless at The Laundry Truck’, Spectrum News, https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/news/2019/03/04/the-laundry-truck-is-cleaning-clothes-for-free-for-those-in-need

[11] Ray, Lexis-Olivier, ‘Laundry Truck LA Helps Give Homeless People a Fresh Start’, https://invisiblepeople.tv/laundry-truck-la-helps-give-homeless-people-a-fresh-start/

[12] The Laundry Truck LA, https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/

External Links

Official Website: https://www.thelaundrytruckla.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thelaundrytruckla/

DOLAN Fashion: https://shopdolan.com/

Notes