Homeward Alliance Announces Launch of Mobile Laundry Program in Fort Collins 

PHOTO COURTESY HOMEWARD ALLIANCE. The Mobile Laundry program launched in January 2020. It's a one-of-a kind non-profit laundry service in Northern Colorado.

Homeward Alliance is proud to announce the Fort Collins launch of its 11th program—Mobile Laundry

Mobile Laundry is what it sounds: a custom-renovated truck stocked with six washers, seven dryers, a self- contained power source and waste water tanks. The truck began operations in Loveland in the fall of 2019 and began offering services at two locations in Fort Collins on January 13—one in north Fort Collins and one in south Fort Collins. 

Services are provided in collaboration with the Poudre and Thompson School Districts to engage with (and complete loads of laundry for) families and children who are homeless and/or at risk of homelessness. The laundry truck is the first of its kind in Northern Colorado and among roughly one dozen operating worldwide. More than 35 loads of laundry can be washed, dried and folded in one day. 

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY HOMEWARD ALLIANCE. Woody Carlsen and Homeward Alliance volunteers dressed up in laundry themed costumes and towed a washing machine trailer during a fundraising event.

The program, inspired by a similar operation in Denver, was envisioned and brought to life by a team of dedicated volunteers and staff, led by community members Woody Carlson and Patricia Friehauf and Homeless Gear (now Homeward Alliance) founder Ken John. Those volunteers visited other programs, conducted best-practice research, interviewed key community stakeholders and, ultimately, raised more than $100,000 to launch the program. Contributors included local foundations, businesses, service organizations, churches, and over 100 individuals. 

“I’ve worked on housing issues since the 1980’s, but never once thought about the importance of clean clothes or access to washing machines,” said Woody Carlson, Program Co-Founder, “We have learned that when you have clean clothes, you have more self respect and dignity, kids do better in schools and parents feel more confident about applying for new jobs as they take the lead in their own journey out of poverty.” 

PHOTO PROVIDED BY HOMEWARD ALLIANCE. Woody Carlson dressed up in a mobile washing costume during a fundraising event.

Added Patricia Friehauf, Co-Founder: “The biggest surprise for me has been learning how many school children in Fort Collins and Loveland are dealing with issues related to homelessness. The second biggest surprise is that virtually everyone who hears about Mobile Laundry “gets it” and wants to help by spreading the word, donating money or supplies, or volunteering.” 

Homeward Alliance is a Larimer County-based nonprofit that empowers individuals and families who face homelessness to survive, move forward and thrive. The organization operates 11 programs and initiatives, including the Murphy Center, Larimer County’s hub of services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

“We expect that the Mobile Laundry truck will help us connect to individuals and families with whom we might not otherwise engage,” said Pam Brewer, Development Director for Homeward Alliance. “As a result, we think that the program will not only achieve its immediate, most direct mission—completing loads of laundry—but also help individuals and families access other services within Homeward Alliance, at the Murphy Center and elsewhere across the County.” 

PHOTO PROVIDED BY HOMEWARD ALLIANCE. A view from inside the mobile laundry truck.

 

HOW TO HELP

  1. Donate high-efficiency (look for “HE” on the label) liquid laundry detergent, either as an individual or as an organizer of a community, business or faith community-wide drive. Donations can be dropped off at the Murphy Center (242 Conifer Street in Fort Collins), Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. or, order through Amazon. Our Wish List is here: http://a.co/217Og7N
  2. Become a Driver or Laundry Volunteer. Email laundry@homewardalliance.org to learn more.
  3. Make a financial contribution to the program. Visit www.homewardalliance.org and click “donate now.” Prefer to pay by check? Mail to “Homeward Alliance” at P.O. Box 873, Fort Collins, CO 80522-0873.