Recently, Brandi Johnson, LoveOne’s Executive Director, was able to sit down with us to share about the nonprofit’s focus on providing hygienic care for the houseless, and how one of our products, the Crud Cloth, was able to create impact.
As we think of the houseless, our thinking isn’t often positive. It is common to stereotype the houseless as violent, mentally ill, or drug addicts. We tend to create distance and categorize “us” from “them.”
“It makes sense why we do this, “ said Brandi Johnson from LoveOne. “It’s a protective measure to protect ourselves and to distance ourselves. But I encourage people to take a minute to push back against that thought.”
Society’s Views On The Houseless
Houselessness is part of almost every community, especially more populated areas such as large towns and cities. Its causes range from the lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, and the inadequate resources available in communities. The impact of houselessness alone influences crime and safety, health care, the work force, taxes, the future of an area, and much more. Society gives the houseless a bad reputation, despite the numerous reasons as to why a person could be in that situation. Whether we like it or not, many of us are guilty of placing negative stereotypes.
However, there are many out there such as Brandi, who are helping to tear down these mental protective barriers, and are helping to make a difference—to change perspectives.
“What I wish people knew about working with the unhoused individuals is that the focus is on serving our neighbors,” Brandi shared. “I wish they could understand that these are most often people from our community who we shop, go to school, and live with. That they’re not made up of some unknown population — they’re people we know.”
Because many associate the houseless as dangerous, delinquent, and other bad connotations, it often results in the belief that the houseless aren’t deserving of dignity.
The Start of LoveOne: From Laundry, Showers, and Meals
Like everything, LoveOne has a beginning—with Dave McAdams.
It was ten years ago when Dave went to a laundromat to clean his clothes. It was there that he noticed an elderly woman start to cry. After he asked what was wrong, she explained that she had run out of quarters. She was upset because she was going to have to take wet clothes home, and that they would mildew. Struck by her simple need, he gave her his extra quarters. As her countenance changed, he thought: she can’t be the only one.
Built upon meeting the most basic tangible needs, LoveOne has made it their mission to answer the question: How can we alleviate some of those burdens and support our community members?
Over time as the organization grew and became more established, LoveOne began building upon meeting people’s needs. It was through laundry services that the community’s houseless first felt stable hygienic care. LoveOne’s services continued to develop as more asked for hygiene products.
Another story Brandi shared was of a man who came to one of their events. He just had received a new job so that he could try to provide for his family. The job required him to wear a tight fitting mask and he needed to shave for it to fit. He just needed basic shaving supplies and LoveOne was able to provide them.
Dignity Through Cleanliness
While LoveOne’s focus is to meet the basic needs of clean clothes, laundry, and meals, the impact they were making was starting to show. There was a significant difference between when people showed up for events and when they left. These people left feeling happier and cleaner.
For many of those around the world, cleanliness is tied to one’s hygienic practices. Although those practices may differ, maintaining good personal hygiene has proven wellness benefits. It helps reduce anxiety, increases productivity, and boosts one’s confidence as the act itself symbolizes a new and fresh start. It also helps provide a sense of confidence, self-value, and worthy of honor from others.
By providing hygienic care, LoveOne was providing dignity.
It wasn’t until a couple months ago that LoveOne was able to combine their hygiene and laundry events. They also started to provide meals for the houseless.
“One time a grandma, mom, and some kids came. They rode the bus a fairly long way to get to the event,” Brandi shared. “At the end of the night, the kids were so excited, jumping up and down—you’d think it was their birthday. It was because they got to wear clean clothes to school the next day that made them so excited.”
Unknown by many, the importance and significant impact of clean clothes goes highly unnoticed, especially in school settings. Not only does it increase school attendance but reduces bullying, according to Brandi.
“I had no idea until I got into this work and kept hearing from teachers, staff, and children’s centers for child abuse prevention and treatment…,” Brandi provided. “They’ve all called out the impact and have made referrals to our events as they’ve noticed its reduction in abuse, neglect, and increased school attendance.”
Crud Cloth in Hygienic Care
Our connection to LoveOne started a couple years ago when our Global Director, Darin Fey, was researching different homeless organizations. Our goal was to look into how local organizations could use Crud Cloth in a more humanitarian light.
Once Darin found LoveOne who had a similar focus of helping to provide basic needs, a cold call turned into a short meeting that began our relationship. It wasn’t long after that we introduced the product to LoveOne and sent samples. After some testing and stamps of approval, LoveOne began implementing Crud Cloth in their work to provide hygienic care for the houseless.
Because the city would allow the organization to put on shower events a certain amount of times, Crud Cloth helped answer the question: How do we fill in the gaps between shower events?
The Crud Cloth also helped alleviate LoveOne’s challenge of providing hygiene to a nearby canyon-woods area where they do outreach. Some individuals are hesitant to access services for various reasons, including fear, distrust, unaddressed mental health needs, and outstanding warrants. The provisions of Crud Cloth, however, is the solution for people in these situations. While it provides hygiene, it also allows people to feel more confidence during job interviews and visitations.
“Having Crud Cloth handy is a game changer,” Brandi shared. “You have a loyal fanbase with us!”
Connect With Us
Here at Business Connect, we value connecting with others. We are proud that our mission includes hygienic care for the houseless. If you know a community or organization that seeks to help solve the water crisis and meet basic needs like these, please connect them with us!