‘Lava Mae’ shower on wheels to clean the homeless in San Francisco

lava mae

What does a shower mean to you? Probably, people who have daily access to shower would laugh or simply ignore this question. But if we ask the same question to a homeless person, his answer may bring tears to our eyes. There are thousands of homeless people living in the streets of San Francisco, who are deprived of proper hygiene. To make an end to that and to bring hygiene, dignity, and hope to those who need it most, Doniece Sandoval founded Lava Mae, a non-profit that transforms San Francisco’s decommissioned city buses into mobile bathroom facilities, equipped with toilets and showers for the homeless.

"Lava Mae" shower bus cleans homeless in San Francisco


There are more than 10,000 homeless people in San Francisco, with no shower facilities and bathrooms. In that scenario, the idea of Lava Mae is indeed a very creative way to address the issue. The project converts old Muni buses into showers and bathrooms on wheels.

San Francisco-based architect Brett Terpeluk has designed the buses. Lave Mae has four buses, three in storage, each equipped with two private ADA-compliant hygiene pods complete with shower, toilet, sink, temporary storage and changing room. Lava Mae has received services, equipment donations from Kohler, Continental Tire, Laundry Locker, Maxwell’s Soaps, Daily Concepts, Vital Oxide, Pace Supply, Diasen, Ecodrain, Lift Design Build and AIRCO. It has got $100,000 from Google, through an Impact Challenge Grant and Dr. Bronner’s donated supplies and $50,000.


Image Credit: govtech


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