Hop On, Wash Off

| 6/26/2014 11:56:00 AM


A refurbished bus provides mobile showers for the homeless.

Imagine having to sign up and wait on a list to take a shower. Or using your local library’s bathroom to wash up. In San Francisco, there are approximately 7,000 homeless people and only eight facilities with showers (most of which are concentrated in the downtown area). Recognizing this problem, and believing that access to sanitation is a human right, an organization called Lava Mae (which means ‘wash me’ in Spanish) has created a mobile shower bus outfitted with two showers, changing areas, and even skylights. The bus has a hot water system installed and hooks up to fire hydrants for a water supply.

Founder Doniece Sandoval worked with designers to outfit the bus and is also collaborating with local organizations to see how the bus can be utilized most effectively. She says, “I just thought if you can put gourmet food on wheels and take it anywhere, why not showers and toilets?” Lava Mae is hoping to develop a fleet of four buses by spring of 2015 which they project would provide about 2,000 showers a week. Sandoval adds, “Lava Mae’s not about ending homelessness. What we are about is providing hygiene because we believe that hygiene brings dignity. And dignity opens up opportunity.”   

Photo by Waleed Alzuhair, licensed under Creative Commons.

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me