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Homeless in Denver: Truck will offer clean laundry, dignity

Posted: 5:07 PM, Aug 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-25 00:13:02-04

DENVER -- It’s in need of repair and not much to look at right now, but hopes for the now empty truck are as high as ever.

“It’s kind of a beast right now, but we’re going to turn it into a beauty. I guarantee it,” Marcus Harris said.

Harris is at the helm of a new project that will hit the streets of Denver soon. Bayaud Enterprises is retrofitting one of its old trucks into a mobile laundry unit to serve Denver’s homeless population.

Laundry is expensive and access can at times be tricky for those without a permanent address. Bayaud points to only four facilities in Denver that offer laundry services to the homeless. Those facilities have several limitations and restrictive hours, according to a Bayaud presentation. 

The mobile laundry truck will have six washers and dryers, a folding station and shelving. It will work by hooking up to fire hydrants around the city. And since it is all on wheels, it will go to the areas where the need is greatest.

“Providing a service like clean clothes and no cost goes a long way toward cultivating a more positive self-image for people who are routinely ostracized,” Harris said.

It’s a challenge Harris knows all too well. He was homeless at one point in his life.

“I’ve been homeless in five different cities, in three different states, and I can tell you that anything that sends a message to folks who have nowhere to go, that their voice has been heard is huge,” Harris explained.

The truck will operate three days a week and is projected to handle 8,250 loads of laundry a year.

The project cost was $90,000 and is scheduled to be in operation by November of this year. Bayaud hopes to one day offer mobile showers, haircuts and job training. 

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