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Mobile showers for San Francisco’s homeless

A decommissioned city bus converted into a shower facility offers hygiene and respect to San Francisco’s homeless. (Lava Mae)

For the homeless, a shower is about much more than hygiene — it means dignity.

Nicole Wallace reports for the Chronicle of Philanthropy that San Francisco’s “mobile shower” provides a splash of self-esteem along with a safe, clean place for suds.

The facility is the brainchild of Doniece Sandoval, founder of Lava Mae, a nonprofit that converted an old city bus into a shower on wheels. With only about 20 showers for the city’s 3,500 homeless, the mobile unit fills a huge gap and can be deployed where needed most.

The bus, in testing since June, is expected to provide 12,000 showers annually after it shifts to full-time service this spring, the article says. It will be joined by a second bus in March. The project is presently funded by Google and an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

Lava Mae notes on its website that other cities, including São Paulo, Singapore, L. A. and Atlanta, have contacted the nonprofit about bringing the concept to their streets. 

Chronicle of Philanthropy

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