A Clean Bill of Health: How One Start-Up is Using Laundromats to Connect Philadelphians to Medical, Internet Resources

Laundry mat

Where many Philadelphians saw wasted time, Allister Chang saw opportunity. In the two hours that many spend waiting for their clothes to wash and dry, Chang envisioned a chance to connect families to healthcare resources that are lacking in so many communities.

Chang and co-founder Courtney Bragg launched Fabric Health in 2021 to help close healthcare gaps for busy families. They’re meeting Philadelphians where they are – in neighborhood laundromats – and turning the spaces into community health centers.

“Time is a scarce resource,” says Allister Chang, Co-Founder of Fabric Health. “Most support services are scheduled at the convenience of providers. We schedule our services at the convenience of our families.”

Since last year, Fabric Health has partnered with The Laundry Café, a local chain of laundromats in Philadelphia, to help residents navigate healthcare insurance enrollment, apply for public benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and complete health screenings.

And now, Fabric Health is working with Comcast to add another crucial element into the wash: Internet access.

Thanks to a partnership with Comcast, families that spend time waiting in The Laundry Café’s laundromats are able to learn about Comcast’s Internet Essentials and the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ACP provides eligible low-income households with a credit of up to $30 per month toward their Internet and/or mobile service. When combined with Internet Essentials, which costs $9.95/month, or Internet Essentials Plus, which costs $29.95/month, ACP helps provide free services after the discount is applied, eliminating cost as a barrier to Internet adoption.

“We’re partnering with Comcast to help people learn about their options for reliable and affordable Internet service,” says Chang. “Getting connected to the proper tools to get online facilitates our mission to expand healthcare access.” According to a recent cross-country study, internet access mitigates the negative impact of inequality on healthcare access.

“Fabric Health has developed an innovative model for community care that is improving lives by meeting people where they are,” says Robert F. Smith, Vice President of Community Impact for Comcast’s Freedom Region. “Having reliable home Internet service is a key element of community health, so when we learned about Fabric Health’s work, we wanted to support their efforts to close healthcare access barriers.”

Fabric Health will be at the following laundromats to promote internet adoption through December 15, 2022:

  • 4th & Allegheny – 400 W. Allegheny Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19133
  • Broad & Wingohocking – 4424 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140
  • 9th & Girard – 901 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19123
  • Front & Olney – 5675 N. Front St., Philadelphia, PA 19120
  • 52nd & Parkside – 1575 N. 52nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19131

For more information, visit the Fabric Health website.

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