Mobile laundry for homeless

Hasson Rashid

MONDAY, JULY 22—This year, for the second time, I submitted "Laundry Truck(s) for the Homeless.” as a project idea in the Participatory Budgeting (PB) competition. I will ask Cambridge to vote for my PB Project idea, if it makes the final cut. I would like to introduce my PB project idea to Cambridge's public at large. Give the Cambridge’s homeless an opportunity to have clean clothes, to maintain a sense of dignity and to meet a basic human need. 

Mobile Laundry Trucks for the Homeless will improve life in Cambridge for everyone by helping the homeless who must live with us as neighbors. 

Maintaining positive hygiene is critical for many individuals who are attempting to emerge from homelessness or extreme poverty. The stereotype of the homeless individual includes many misconceptions that are often driven by something as simple as a dirty shirt. Primary hygiene needs such as laundry become secondary or even tertiary as individuals must focus on the most basic acts of survival. 

This is part of the cycle that locks people into poverty. Without access to free and accessible laundry services, how can people apply for a job or for housing?

Denver, Colorado  already has such a service:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UofFh1QvN1A&t=20s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2jYgk6Njac&t=29s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_rg4kWbDVo

[Mr Rashid also submitted this proposal last year. An ACT representative learned that the 2018 committee considered this as one of the best proposals. However it would require continuing financial support not provided in the city’s one-time capital investment policy for Participatory Budgeting. They would probably vote for the Mobile Laundry Truck if some institution or agency accepted it as a permanent project. —b.c.]

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The City of Cambridge hopes that PB will help directly involve residents in the budgeting and city-building process, foster civic engagement and community spirit, and help ensure that the City’s Capital Plan reflects the priorities of Cambridge residents.The sixth Participatory Budgeting (PB) cycle in Cambridge (https://pb.cambridgema.gov/) runs from May-December 2019. This time, the City sets aside $1,000,000 of the FY20 Budget for one-time capital projects to improve the community. After community members brainstorm project ideas volunteer Budget Delegates will research and develop those ideas into formal project proposals. Proposals that are vetted by City staff and approved by the City Manager will appear on a PB ballot in December for a public vote. Winning projects will be included in the FY20 Capital Budget for adoption.