Transformed Public Buses Offer The Homeless A Place To Shower

Transformed Public Buses Offer The Homeless A Place To Shower

San Francisco introduces "washing trucks" to the city's large street population.

Serena Chu
  • 16 october 2013

San Francisco has about 3,400 people living on the streets, but not enough public facilities and programs to provides support to this larger number. Ensuring proper hygiene among the large homeless population is very difficult, especially when there are only 16 public shower stalls that have limited hours and only open on certain days of the week.


Doneive Sandoval’s new program Lava Mae – which means “wash me” in Spanish – is upcycling decommissioned Muni buses in San Francisco, and re-introducing them as portable shower stalls for the homeless. The bus showers will also be built with sinks and toilets. With one decommissioned Muni bus in hand, Sandoval is promised three more by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency if the project goes well.

lava mae 4

Not only will Lava Mae provide a place to shower, but bathing necessities, such as towels and toiletries, will also be made available. The showers have an estimated project budget of $318,000 for the first year.

Sandoval hopes that these new showers will make the homeless feel less isolated and vulnerable. This project has been schedule to start in March 2014.

Lava Mae 


+San Francisco

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