Laundromat caters to homeless and needy

Washing clothes can be a hassle.

Going to the laundromat often takes several hours and even washing and folding clothes at home can prove cumbersome.

Not for everybody, though. For some, such as eight homeless teens and young adults ages 17-22 and two families living in Sequim, doing laundry is a luxury not a chore, said Steven Welty, Glory House Fellowship pastor and Sequim Community Help Center director.

That's why after six months of planning and construction, Welty is letting the cat out of the bag and announcing the grand opening of a laundromat and shower facility for the homeless and needy.

Located at 155 W. Cedar St., next to Glory House Fellowship, the Barbara Allen Laundromat for the homeless is open by appointment and operates using a voucher system. Individuals, organizations and businesses can purchase and distribute vouchers to the homeless and needy.

The purpose of the voucher system, Welty said, is to prevent temptation to buy tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Vouchers also are available for gasoline and emergency motel stays.

Vouchers are effective for one year and are renewable within 30 days of the expiration date. Coupons for a single shower cost $3; coupons for washing clothes cost $7 and coupons for both a shower and washing clothes cost $10. Soap, towels, laundry detergent and bleach are provided.

Three washers and dryers and two showers are available for use.

A private ceremony on Oct. 11 dedicated the laundromat to Welty's mother, who died earlier in the year and donated $4,000 to the project.

"She had a heart for the homeless," Welty said fondly.

Sequim Home Depot, D&K Rentals, Habitat for Humanity, Sequim Community Church and other businesses and organizations were thanked for their generous donations of time, money and materials.

A laundromat on the east side of Sequim is much needed, according to Welty. "More than 40 apartments on the east end of Sequim are without washers and dryers. Now, those people can use these rather than drive to the other side of town," he said, clarifying that the definition of "needy" doesn't necessarily mean homeless or unemployed. "We are open to the public if they need."

The next five or six months are expected to be the busiest of the season. "In the wintertime, this (laundromat) will be even more important. People need somewhere to go to get clean and warm," Welty said. "People looking for work can come shower, wash their clothes and get a job. There are a lot of smart people out there who just need an opportunity to get their lives together."

Isaac Nunez, 19, is a Sequim teen who has been living in his Mazda 626 for one month. "It will be awesome," Nunez said prior to the laundromat opening. "I need somewhere to wash my clothes."

In addition to showering and laundering, Sequim Community Help Center offers hot meals and a place to hang out. More than 240 meals are served per month. On Fridays, the facility is open to the general public in need. Tuesdays, the center caters to teenagers.

Lending a

helping hand

The Sequim Community Help Center and Barbara Allen Laundromat for the homeless rely on support from community members, businesses and organizations. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1912, Sequim, WA 98382. For more information, to purchase vouchers, volunteer or make an appointment, call director Steven Welty at 681-8735 or stop by Glory House Fellowship at 157 W. Cedar St.

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