Lava Mae is working to change the lives of San Francisco’s immense homeless population for the better. The concept? Free showers for the homeless, no questions asked.
Now, the organization is looking to build an information sharing platform where it can interact with cities looking to replicate this model. Watch our Google+ Hangout On Air with NationSwell Special Projects Editor Cat Cheney, Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval and Lava Mae Community Engagement Manager Leah Filler. They discuss how the organization is already changing lives, what more it hopes to do and how you can contribute.
NationSwell first covered this story in 2013, looking at the power of this model of showers on wheels that travel to neighborhoods across the city, providing sanitation to those in need. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Lava Mae was able to purchase their first bus, equipped with shower stalls and fixtures.
As Winston Ross wrote, “Here’s the thing about a shower, when you’re homeless. It’s not just a Band-Aid. It’s the thin line between dignity and despair, between being able to walk into a job interview with a decent set of clothes on and not have your body odor silently scream ‘I slept in a doorway last night!'”
What started off as just a powerful concept has now been fully realized — a few weeks ago, Lava Mae made its public debut. Now, the organization is looking to expand to other cities, but it needs your help.
“It’s really to create a two-way conversation and to share these stories,” Sandoval told NationSwell. “It’s the multiple brain idea and it’s also the fact that as things evolve around the world … the idea of hygiene and providing hygiene as a basic human right really resonates with people.”
“Every dollar will get us closer to creating this hub where we can help seed and support this idea around the world,” she added. You can click here or on the Take Action button to donate, then consider spreading the word to friends who might be interested.