As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business as usual. We know that the economic effects of the pandemic have yet to be fully seen. Throughout the past year and in particular over the past seven months we have already seen a 50% increase in the number of people we are serving, many of whom are experiencing homelessness for the first time. According to a report by Economic Roundtable the number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County is expected to increase by 86% over the next two years to 122,000+ unhoused individuals.
Even before COVID-19, people experiencing homelessness had limited access to vital hygiene supplies. The gap in resources has only grown wider over the past year.
People who are homeless, especially the chronically homeless (76% of LA’s homeless population), have significant barriers to finding and keeping clothing that fits and meets their needs. They often wind up wearing dirty and wet clothes for long stretches of time out of necessity, making them vulnerable to the spread of transmissible diseases.
Meanwhile, an estimated 371,000 tons of textiles ended up in Los Angeles landfills and waterways last year. Approximately 95% of this waste was recyclable and reusable clothes, shoes, and other fabric.
We resumed our direct services last June and have been working on the frontlines of the pandemic ever since, helping provide the unhoused in Los Angeles with clean clothes, shoes, hygiene essentials, face masks and hand sanitizer as well as food, water and portable battery chargers.
We’ve seen a growing demand from not just the people we serve on the streets, but from other local nonprofits and mutual aid groups who need clothing and hygiene products for their services, helping unhoused and low-income individuals and families in other areas of Los Angeles County.
Clean clothing, PPE and hand sanitizer can help reduce the risk of transmittable diseases and access to hygiene products can decrease the risk of life threatening skin diseases and gum diseases or infections which can cause blood poisoning or cardiovascular disease.
With our connections to large volumes of clothing and hygiene supplies we are uniquely positioned to help not just the unhoused, but our fellow community members and the environment.
However, our operating costs have more than doubled as a result of the pandemic as has the demand for our services. We need financial support to help us continue to operate our direct services and grow our community partnership program.
Our goal is to raise $75,000!
Your support now will help us accomplish our goal.
When one person doesn’t have access to proper hygiene the whole community is at risk. Help us be able to continue to restore dignity and empower the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles by providing clean clothes and hygiene essentials while also helping the environment by reducing the volume of clothing and textiles that end up in landfills.
Listen to our founder’s interview on K-LOVE
Last month, our founder, Caitlin Adler, was featured on Closer Look on the radio station K-LOVE. Listen to her interview discussing why our services are so important for people experiencing homelessness.
April is Earth Month and April 22nd is Earth Day!
Project Ropa is a Los Angeles Certified Green Business. We are committed to keeping surplus clothing and textile products out of landfills, putting them instead into the hands of people in need in our community. Since 2016, we have saved more than 130,000 pounds of clothing and textile materials from going to waste and have provided clean clothes to 40,000+ unhoused and low-income individuals and families.