Association House High School’s Laundry Resource Affected by Winter Flood
In October 2018, Association House was pleased to announce the completion of their new laundry room located onsite in the high school. The laundry room provided students who are experiencing homelessness or transitional living situations with a secure and private space to wash their clothes. However, massive flooding caused by the January polar vortex has halted the use of the laundry room.
Approximately 30 percent of the 140 Association House High School students report that they are experiencing homelessness or transitional living situations. With the generous support of Chicago Youth Storage Initiative, a program of the Crossroads Fund, a new laundry room was created. This initiative, while providing resources including free access to a washer and dryer and laundry supplies, creates a sense of autonomy and self-efficacy despite precarious living arrangements. Ultimately access to laundry facilities will improve the high school experience, by enabling students to be present and engaged in school.
Since it became operational earlier this year, the laundry room was a success.
“Our laundry facility had use each week. Right before the flood, we had two students who regularly used it, but of course, there was a greater need then and likely in the future,” mentor and counseling case manager Jemina Lyle detailed.
However, a massive flood that initiated in the west wing of the high school where the laundry room is housed halted the use of the laundry room. The flood impacted about 25,000 square feet on multiple floors, resulting in relocating high school classrooms and behavioral health staff. In addition to the washer and dryer, other equipment including computers, projectors, were damaged. That side of the high school, along with impacted areas from floors three to one, have been temporarily shut down as the damage has been assessed and recovery efforts have begun.
“For students who are currently in need of a washing facility, we have now begun to look into outside resources that provide the same security and ease that our place did,” Lyle said. “It’s not an easy task considering some of their living situations and what it takes to secure support from outside of our work community.”
However, in the face of this loss, Association House continues to see the positive. The staff pulled together and worked tirelessly to ensure that we can continue to support participants. Everyone continues to work as a team for the benefit of the participants.
We are in the initial phases of cleanup and recovery. After removing moisture to ensure a safe environment for staff and participants, we will get bids for restoration of all damaged areas that include ceilings, walls, floors and everything in between.
To learn more about Association House of Chicago, visit www.associationhouse.org.