San Francisco Bus Provides Showers For The Homeless

Lava Mae is a shower bus made for people who are homeless in San Francisco. Full service is scheduled to launch in spring of 2015.

San Francisco Bus Provides Showers For The Homeless

San Francisco will soon be equipped with a shower bus.

It's exactly what it sounds like — a bus with a shower. (Via Lava Mae)

It offers two free private bathrooms with hot showers to people who are homeless.

"Even though you're going to be on the bus for 20 minutes or so, it's 20 minutes of complete privacy and respite. ... Lava Mae is not about ending homelessness." (Via Lava Mae)

That was the founder of Lava Mae, Doniece Sandoval, and she says hygiene brings dignity, which in turn would open up opportunity.

She made the news last year when she set up a decorated toilet display to raise awareness about Lava Mae and the need for clean toilets. And there is a need. (Via Getty Images, Getty Images)

"The Great Recession drained the number of city shower facilities from 10 to 7, forcing the homeless to put their names on waiting lists just to clean up. Sandoval hopes to fill the gap the city left behind." (Via KPIX)

​According to the 2013 San Francisco Homeless Survey, there were more than 6,400 people who are homeless in the city.

Lava Mae buses will use water from fire hydrants as part of a deal with the city. But making a shower bus is pricey. It cost $75,000 to convert the bus into a shower machine.

That cost was covered by private donations. KNTV reports even Google made a donation. 

But there's been a severe drought in California — San Francisco being no exception. There is already dead, brown grass everywhere due to a water shortage. (Via Getty Images, Getty Images)

The San Francisco Examiner says city officials are talking about closing some public restrooms if the drought worsens. 

That would make the need for Lava Mae even greater. The full service is scheduled to launch next spring.