Doniece Sandoval, Lava Mae

Doniece SandovalThough the United Nation and World Health Organization defines access to water and sanitation as a basic human right, homeless people throughout the U.S. and around the globe often go without. In San Francisco, there are approximately 16 showers for over 3,100 men, women and children who call the streets their home.

Doniece is doing something about this problem.  To make access to water and sanitation more readily available, Doniece created Lava Mae, a sustainable mobile shower and sanitation service for the homeless. Lava Mae will remodel buses donated by the City’s local transportation agency, SF MUNI, to bring showers and toilets to the streets of San Francisco. The buses will be equipped with two showers, two toilets, and private changing rooms. By partnering with local nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless but do not provide showers or toilets, Lava Mae will augment homeless services already in place.

Lava Mae hopes to be operating its first remodeled bus by early 2014.

“The issue of access threatens people’s humanity and dignity and limits their ability to move out of homelessness,” says Doniece. “At Lava Mae we believe that everyone has a right to be clean. After all, if gourmet food can be put on wheels and taken anywhere, why not showers and toilets?”

Pollination Project funding will go towards retrofitting the first bus.