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Mobile Laundry Trailer Launches In North County
Monday, July 19, 2021
Photo by Tania Thorne
Not everyone has access to a washer and dryer at home.
Trips to the laundromat turn into an additional expense in many households.
“A lot of us don’t have the ability, or the privilege, to have a washer and dryer at home. We have to go to a laundromat,” said Oscarin Ortega, the founder of Lived Experiences.
The nonprofit organization provides services to low-income families in North County.
Ortega saw a need for laundry access in the communities he serves and came up with the idea of a mobile laundry trailer.
“We created a mobile laundry program," he said. "Four washers, four dryers, and we bring it to the communities all day and have people have the ability to feel that privilege of having free laundry."
Ortega gutted a 1991 Rockwood Toy Hauler with a plan to install washers and dryers inside, but the project was easier said than done.
“The conversation started six months ago. Where do we start?" he said. "Again, no one has ever built one. We originally thought I could just buy a trailer and buy washers and hook them up. It's not that easy”
Ortega had to raise money and partner with community organizations to finish the project.
Although the laundry trailer can be hauled almost anywhere, water and power hookups are needed to use the laundry services.
The laundry trailer launched last week at a Humanity Showers event.
The Wednesday shower event was held in Oceanside at Potter’s House and offers showers, food, clothes, resources, and now laundry.
Jordan Verdin, the owner of Humanity Showers was excited to offer the laundry service to the people they help.
“We’re really excited. Everything we do is based off the conversations we have with people that come here, who may be experiencing homelessness," Verdin said. "One of the guests here said 'Hey, you know what would really make this space better, is if we had laundry.'"
Sergio Burget and his family are regulars at the shower events.
They got to use the laundry last week.
“This is help for the entire family, and for the people that come here, sometimes with scarce resources," he said. "But that's what's important to the community. This is an extra resource that no one was expecting. It's excellent. We all need a little help sometimes.”
Dallas Stelmach is currently living on the streets and got to wash his clothes in the trailer.
“This is probably the most convenient thing that I've been able to encounter in a long time, I'm really happy to be a part of it,” he said.
Stelmach works as a mechanic and said the mobile laundry will help him have fresh clothes for work.
The laundry trailer will be in Carlsbad on Tuesdays with Showers of Blessings, and in Oceanside on Wednesdays with Humanity Showers.
Ortega hopes to expand the laundry project soon.
“We want to build more. The dream is to take this into the communities, leave it there for a whole day and have people take advantage of it," he said. "Take it to Mira Costa College, Palomar College, and have students who are suffering or insecure, money-wise or shelter-wise, and have them take advantage of this. So that's the whole goal. Not only homeless but low-income families and anybody in general.”
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