Whatever your socioeconomic status, a new outfit or pair of shoes makes you smile and feel good about yourself — hey, I can conquer the world!
Unfortunately, that feeling is usually out of reach for those who live in the open or in a car or van. Clothes that aren’t the right fit or style, and probably aren’t clean, are often the uniform of the day for most of our homeless neighbors.
That’s where we come in.
Project Ropa is the only nonprofit organization of its kind in Los Angeles: our mission is to empower the lives of people experiencing homelessness by providing access to clean clothes, personal hygiene kits and other hygiene services, like showers, through impactful partnerships.
Our retrofitted van, functioning as a mobile walk-in closet, carries hope as well as a full selection of high-quality, wrinkle-free new and used men’s and women’s clothes, shoes and accessories. Everything is neatly displayed on racks, and a Project Ropa employee is on hand to help each client select the items that will give that person a lift. Our mobile service operates weekly, alternating between two locations in the Greater Los Angeles area.
The hope we bring is that the new outfit or shoes will empower our clients to turn a corner and find new job and housing opportunities.
Now, because of Covid-19, we also have to bring new safety practices with us. To protect our clients, staff and volunteers, we are taking the following steps:
- All clothing, shoes and hygiene items are quarantined for seven days before being stocked for distribution in our van
- The inside of the van is sanitized with a HEPA UV-C air sanitizer/purifier before and after each service event
- We check the temperature of each staff member and volunteer at the beginning of every shift
- Our staff educates clients about disease risk management, in conjunction with flyers distributed with each hygiene kit
- No clients are allowed to enter our vehicle
- A six-foot perimeter is created around the entrance to our van’s storage area and our service coordinators manage the flow of clients, making sure everyone remains six feet apart; our signage explains these procedures in English and Spanish
- We perform frequent deep cleanings and sanitizing procedures using industrial-grade materials
- All staff and volunteers wear masks and gloves at all times during service visits and in our storage facility
- Face shields and hand sanitizer are available for staff, volunteers and clients
- Masks and gloves are provided to all clients
In short, we’re ready to fulfill our mission even under the most trying circumstances.