Refurbished Muni buses loaded with showers ready to hit streets 

Homeless folks searching for a shower in San Francisco will soon find relief, as Lava Mae is gearing up to hit the streets by the end of June.

The project involved refurbishing a decommissioned Muni bus with two private hygiene pods, each with a shower, toilet, sink, changing room and temporary storage.

Shower and sanitation services every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon launch June 28 at Capp Street between 16th and 17th streets, in partnership with the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center. On July 22, the service will expand to Tuesdays in partnership with Mother Brown’s in the Bayview district and Fridays with Youth With a Mission in the Tenderloin.

On service days, Lava Mae will pull up to the partner site, hook up to an approved hydrant, get a schedule of people who signed up for showers, manage 10-minute timed showers and discharge water before departing to its Treasure Island parking area.

Despite the seemingly daunting task of providing free showers on run-down buses, Lava Mae founder and Executive Director Doniece Sandoval, 52, did not consider the process difficult.

“Every step of the way, the opportunities have unfolded,” she said. “Our partners have been hugely supportive. I think the biggest challenge we’re having is finding overnight parking in San Francisco.”

In the meantime, the Lava Mae bus will park overnight at Treasure Island, along with three other Muni buses donated by The City that are slated to be refurbished in 2015 if funding can be secured.

The nonprofit project is fully funded by private dollars, including $100,000 from the Google San Francisco Bay Area Impact Challenge.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Bio:
Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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