Non-profit organization Lava Mae has transformed an old city bus into a mobile shower room for San Francisco’s homeless.
Lava Mae believe that everyone has the right to be clean. For over 3,500 homeless people in San Fran, there are only seven showering points available. The lack of access to hygiene that these people are facing presents several huge blocks towards becoming a functioning citizen again. Lava Mae say that “with hygiene comes dignity; with dignity, opportunity.” So don’t underestimate the power of a shower. Allowing people the right to washing helps overcome stigmas associated with the appearance of homeless folks, gives them an element around which to develop a routine and maybe even provides them with a reason to get up in the morning.
“Waste chemicals, we don’t need any more!” I hear you cry. Well, these environmentally savvy individuals clean between each shower and do a deep cleaning at the end of each service day. They use a “totally green” hospital grade disinfectant (Vital Oxide.) Therefore, as well as killing 99.9% of bacteria, it is harmless to humans. In fact, it also improves water quality so even their waste water is pretty clean!
As expected, the response has been huge — there has been a huge demand for more mobile showers in the city as well as calls from other cities throughout the world from as far away as Sydney and Kuala Lumpur! It’s hard to know how long a totally public-funded project like this can stay in business but here’s hoping that crowdfunders continue to support the campaign and that we see more of its influence where people need it the most.