Hygiene and health are intimately interwoven, and poor hygiene is an inevitable result of homelessness. Establishing proper hygiene is key to a sense of self and better health. This includes regularly brushing teeth, washing hair, washing hands, cleaning with soap, wearing deodorant, menstrual hygiene products, and clean underwear and socks. When people don't have access to these products, many consequences will develop ranging from unemployment to serious diseases. Simply the Basics provides basic hygiene to programs and people, thus building a healthier community and stronger homeless programs overall.
Often homeless people will utilize a local homeless shelter or a day center for their hygiene needs. However, having access to a shelter doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they will be able to bathe due to the number of homeless and the shortage of resources at shelters. Additionally, nonprofit organizations shared that on average, more than 14 hours of staff time a week was spent collecting, sorting, and storing donations.
Simply the Basics has launched the first large-scale Hygiene Bank in the nation. The purpose of our "Hygiene Bank" is to ensure organizations serving the homeless and low income community always have access to their most basic needs, and redistribute the items they do not to avoid waste. We remove the dehumanization of handouts, and empower our most underserved community members to have the dignity and benefits that come with good hygiene and choice.
Health and Hygiene:
As compared with people who have homes, people experiencing homelessness are more likely to have dermatological problems, functional limitation, seizures, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, foot pain, and decayed teeth. Many of these ailments are preventable with access to proper hygiene. In a recent survey of the 2015 San Francisco Homeless Count, 67% of homeless reported one or more preventable health conditions, and 34% reported that their health condition made it difficult for them to keep a job or handle activities of daily living. The risk of death is increased eightfold in people who experience these conditions. To care more optimally for homeless people, we must pay attention to illnesses caused by lack of access to proper hygiene.
Total Basic Needs Distributed as of March 1, 2019
Dental Hygiene: 93,544
Menstrual Hygiene: 128,352
Healthy Food & Snacks: 4,193
Infant Care: 26,847
Other (Lotion, Combs, First Aid, etc): 90,257
Razors/Shaving Needs: 11,471
Soap, Body Wash, Wipes, Deodorant: 146,070
Household & Towels & Bedding: 2,227
Socks & Undergarments: 26,844
Complete Hygiene Kits in Reusable Tote Bags: 51,901
TOTAL BASIC NEEDS DISTRIBUTED: 647,887