Providing access to affordable laundry
“Access to affordable laundry needs to be considered a basic need. It’s not just about clean clothes, but also social inclusion – how our clothes make us feel; the space they allow us to occupy and the opportunities available to us when we are able to put our best selves forward.”Raelene Goulet, Community Safety Ambassador Team Lead, The Mustard Seed
This was the basis for a pilot project spearheaded by The Mustard Seed that began in 2021. They started by looking for opportunities to form a partnership that would provide access to clean clothing for anyone without access to laundry machines. This was, and remains, a barrier to many people living in poverty, particularly those experiencing homelessness. Before this pilot, there was limited access to free or affordable laundry services across the city and nothing for adults on the south side of Edmonton.
Let’s try something new
The Neighbour Centre had previously been the sole provider for no-cost laundry services in the community, but a temporary closure left many without access. While ongoing renovations will further enhance the capacity and services provided at the Neighbour Centre; the team at the Mustard Seed saw an opportunity to do something different right now.
Local business steps in to help
With funding from the City of Edmonton and The Mustard Seed, and a committed business partner in Whyte Ave Coin & Laundry, a three-month pilot project kicked off! As operations ran smoothly, additional funding was provided to continue to offer this service into 2022.
Through the partnership with Whyte Ave Coin Laundry, patrons accessing the program are able to build self-esteem, enhance social inclusion, and foster independence, while also supporting a local business.
Whyte Ave Coin Laundry is a family owned and operated business. Dustin Park and his son Kevin, say they have a simple reason for wanting to participate in the laundry social inclusion project, “To help people in need wash their clothes”.
And they are doing just that – with 65 loads of laundry provided to date!
For more information about this project and ways to get involved, visit: https://theseed.ca/