Jodie Dolan began caring for people who are homeless through projects that fed and provided showers for them. Something bothered her, though. After they showered, they would redress with their dirty clothes. It was then that Dolan thought of creating a laundry service for them.
The Laundry Truck LA (TLTLA) was launched in 2019 to provide clean clothes to homeless people in Downtown Los Angeles. The organization started one day a week with a 16-foot trailer, five washers, five dryers, a folding station, a water heater and a 25,000-watt generator.
Today, Laundry Truck LA—thought to be the world’s first laundry service of its kind—is seeking a second truck and raising money to purchase more generators. It operates seven days a week plus night shifts.
“It makes them ready to engage the world,” Dolan said.
The Laundry Truck LA’s goal is to enlighten its users to practice good hygiene and stay connected to society.
The program has brought people together; one that has a much more humanistic perspective for people who are homeless. After the shower, people living on the streets—some for 30 years—feel welcome, understood and transformed into healthy individuals.
With the coronavirus pandemic impacting the city of Los Angeles, the Laundry Truck LA has been vital for homeless people. It has done this by connecting with the city of Los Angeles’s temporary housing initiatives, which include over 6,000 beds.
Furthermore, the Laundry Truck LA is expanding its reach to provide free laundry service at many motels and hotels in support of California’s Project Roomkey, a first-in-the-nation initiative to secure hotel and motel rooms to protect people who are homeless from the coronavirus.
As a result, the Laundry Truck LA is in high demand, is receiving donations and community support, and is saving lives.
Last year, the Laundry Truck LA completed 3,000 loads of laundry. This year, it’s set to complete 15,600 loads.
The Laundry Truck LA is looking to grow organically.
“We’re here as long as we’re needed,” Dolan said. “Helping the homeless helps everybody.”