What is the significance of Basic Hygiene on Health?

For most people, personal hygiene is simply a matter of walking into their bathroom and engaging in "washing up" and getting clean. The basic act of staying clean is something that people often take for granted in terms of feeling human and being healthy, and requires great resourcefulness for those experiencing homelessness. For people who live on the streets, maintaining proper hygiene and a sense of dignity is a time-consuming and potentially dangerous endeavor.

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. Additionally, people who spend most of their time outside are at high risk for immersion foot, frostbite, and hypothermia, especially during the cold and rainy periods. The risk of death is increased eightfold in people who experience these conditions.

In a recent survey, 67% of homeless reported one or more preventable health conditions and 34% reported that this health condition made it difficult for them to keep a job, maintain relationships, or to handle basic activities of daily living. 

How does Simply the Basics solve nonprofit operational challenges?

A recent survey conducted by Simply the Basics of over 100 nonprofit organizations serving the homeless and low-income individuals demonstrated that majority of nonprofits do not have a staff person responsible for managing in-kind (physical) donations. On average, staff spends roughly 14 hours a week managing donations, including sorting and re-distributing donations that are not needed or have space for at that time. One nonprofit surveyed said they spend up to 40 hours of staff time a week just seeking enough feminine hygiene products! 100% of the homeless programs surveyed said that they could achieve more program goals if they weren’t so consumed with securing basic needs for their clients. 

Simply the Basics solves these operational challenges by picking up unneeded donations, then redistributing the items to programs based on their needs and storage availability. Through our support, nonprofits are given an entire day every week to turn their focus back to clients and program goals.