Even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused massive disruptions to commerce, jobs and housing, homelessness was already on the rise in the United States. In fact, the early 2020 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) found a 2.2 percent rise in homelessness in the United States – marking the fourth year consecutive of increases. Many experts fear the pandemic will only exacerbate homeless rates across the nation. In an effort to raise awareness for the issue, one brand is innovating a heritage social impact program to meet new needs.
This August, Tide Loads of Hope is transforming its hallmark social impact program to meet the needs of a new group as part of “The Tent Mender” campaign. The 16-year-old program, which has primarily focused on providing roving laundry units during times of disaster, will now have its first permanent Tide Loads of Hope laundry room inside Midnight Mission – a comprehensive homeless shelter and homeless services provider serving the Los Angeles homeless community. To raise awareness for people experiencing homelessness, Tide is also partnering with IMDb TV to launch a three-part series filmed in the heart of Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The documentary series “introduces raw, inspirational, and true stories of people experiencing homeless” and features the fictional story of “The Tent Mender.” Explaining the importance of using storytelling to share the narrative, Kimberly Doebereiner, Executive Producer and Head of P&G Studios explains, “When things become personal, empathy grows. The Tent Mender will touch hearts with a new and more intimate perspective on people facing homelessness.”
For its latest challenge, Tide is taking a two-pronged approach to its program. Not only is the brand leveraging a tried-and-true model of supporting those in need through Loads of Hope, but it is also inviting others to learn about the individual stories of those facing homelessness. In this way, Tide is helping to alleviate some of the immediate needs of the displaced population in Skid Row, while also raising awareness for the broader issue of homelessness through impactful storytelling and high-visibility partnerships.