Letter: ‘I was treated like the scum of the Earth’

Before I put all my quarters in, the owner said ‘we … don’t let homeless people do their laundry here.’

To the editor:

Hi there. My name is Melanie. I’ve been homeless for three months.

I needed my clothes cleaned and the buses were on strike about a month ago on a Monday.

I pushed my shopping cart full of my belongings, clothes, blankets, etc. to a laundromat on Lakeshore.

When I arrived I pushed my shopping cart out of the way but could still see it through the window. I went in with my stuff.

Before I put all my quarters in, the owner came up to me, a little agitated, and rushing me and said ‘we will let you do your laundry today but we don’t let homeless people do their laundry here.’

I needed it done badly so I was gracious and polite.

He asked me to move my cart and come back in 20 minutes, so I did.

I came back and he had put my female laundry in the dryer.

He would not let me in but stuck his head out the door and said ‘Come back in thirty minutes.’

So I did because I was just glad to get it done. When I came back my laundry was done and put in garbage bags.

He handed it to me. Then I had to find an awning to fold my clothes outside.

I’ve never been treated like that before. I could have hidden my cart and he wouldn’t have known I had one.

He was very judgmental and assumed I had been homeless for a long time. Now I know how the homeless feel.

Doesn’t a homeless person deserve to have clean clothes and bedding?

Because someone is homeless shouldn’t a laundromat want to help them stay as clean as they can if they are making an effort? Isn’t that what a laundromat is for?

I felt like I was treated like the scum of the earth.

It hurt my feelings. It degraded me even more than I already felt for being homeless. It’s not easy being homeless and it hopefully will not be for a long time.

The reason I’m writing this is to be a spokesperson for the homeless who are people too. I’ll never go back to (that laundromat).

It took me a month to decide that I needed to write this letter.

Thanks for listening and I hope no other homeless person trying to stay clean gets treated like that.

Melanie, homeless for 3 months