S.F. Homeless Residents Can Finally Take a Shower ... on Muni

Categories: Public Transit

Thumbnail image for Old Muni car.jpg
Could definitely use a shower
A shower on Muni sounds like that uninviting combo of sinister and unsanitary.

Of course, that's until you read this story about Lava Mae, a startup founded by entrepreneur Doniece Sandoval, that's decided to capitalize on crappy, unused Muni buses (that could probably use a good scrub themselves) for the homeless to use as washrooms.

The Examiner reported that the startup has already secured the rights to use one Muni bus for mobile showering in San Francisco.

Assuming each shower takes no more than five minutes, Sandoval thinks she can offer a nice scrub down to as many as 130 homeless residents every day on one bus alone. Muni has already confirmed it will be discarding 40 more buses and replacing those over the next few years -- which means San Francisco just might to smell a little less ... unfresh.

"The United Nations states that access to clean water is a basic human right," Sandoval said. "But for many residents in our city, that is clearly not a reality. This is about restoring some of their dignity."

Of course, the project's one hurdle now is money. Sandoval explains to the Ex that it will cost as much as $100,000 to retrofit each bus into mobile showers and potties. She's working on securing grant funding, but individual donations are also welcome.

No word on whether Muni is working on producing its own transit-scented shower gel.




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18 comments
meatsack
meatsack

100,000$

 Do people associate entrepreneur with begging for vasts sums of money and then giving things away?


More like, she is a entrepreneur who has found a way to make money off the city.


brennie2376
brennie2376 topcommenter

www.facebook.com/HelpFindCrishtianHughes

yaldamatic
yaldamatic

This woman goes to Istanbul and creates a Persian cookbook? Is this a joke? 

I am Persian and I find this to be very insulting. Next thing you know people will think hummus is a persian thing.  Come to my house and I will make you "California" persian food, haha. 

Kevin Kirby
Kevin Kirby

Fare-checkers can double as clothing guards.

mike1934
mike1934

The people behind this plan are so full of it that their eyeballs are floating. Homeless people need shelter, and probably meds, before they need showers.

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

This is a joke! They already have places for them to take shower. Use that money to help the homeless get off the street not some shower

Felix Levy
Felix Levy

Great before they just took a piss there, now they can take a shower, and what is next? I know a sex stop at cost of Muni fair subsidized by Board of Superdumb!

Joshua Tritt
Joshua Tritt

there are already places for low income residents to shower. this makes zero sense.

fernfrog
fernfrog

I'd like to know where these showers would be located?

d.grace.weil
d.grace.weil

@mike1934 As someone who was homeless on the streets of SF 10 years ago, access to a shower was *critical* to my ability to maintain my quality of life. I was going to art school at the time, and could not afford housing for the first month that I was in school. (No financial aid until the beginning of the second month of term.) I slept in those shelters where I was "tossed out" every morning, and I would have been a really skeezy student, but thankfully the Dean of Students let me have access to the staff shower in the basement of my school. Safe places to sleep, adequate food, and access to basic facilities such as restrooms and showers are a basic part of human dignity. Even the mentally ill and substance abusers deserve to have access to those facilities. There is an increasing population of homeless people who are those from traditionally "safe" parts of society who have lost their jobs due to the economic crisis. Do they not deserve to have access to showers, allowing them the opportunity to maybe be clean enough to land a new job? There is far more to homelessness, "Horatio" than is dream't of in your judgment. 

DanMitchell
DanMitchell

@mike1934 Good reasoning. Since we can't get them all homes and proper medical care, they really should just stay filthy.

mike1934
mike1934

I see the AstroTurf is out. Of course homeless people deserve to be able to take showers. They also deserve reliable supportive housing. And again, that takes money. I'd rather have more money raised for supportive housing than have money wasted on a half measure. Moreover, I dare say that your case doesn't represent what homelessness as a societal problem is. In the main it involves people who are derailed by mental illness and drugs and have come to see their condition as normal. You case appears to have involved a temporary deficit in social capital (that is, no friend's couch to crash upon until your student aid kicked in). That's a different issue, and it needs to be addressed, but again, not by half measures.

mike1934
mike1934

Basically, yes. How the hell is being forced to wait for a shower help them? Most of our homeless have bigger issues. The kind of "clean" most of them really need involves rehab. Having available shelter beds that they aren't tossed out of every morning would help too. These things cost money, which you propose instead to spend on this, just so you and all the other dilettantes can feel better about still seeing homeless people on the street.

mike1934
mike1934

Doubling down is probably better than self-referential word salad. Interesting that you mention foreign aid. Try reading this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/24/g8.debtrelief. Tldr: half measures with good intentions often end up making things worse. Stick that in your Social Entrepreneurship class notes and marinate on that for a while. Or, if you prefer, go distribute cupcakes on Sixth Street, I'm sure you'll feel better.

DanMitchell
DanMitchell

@mike1934 Yes. Doubling down was a good idea. I especially like the way you basically just repeated the initial logic, but with more words, so it kinda looks like you're fleshing out a real argument.

I don't propose to do anything, I'm commenting on someone else's proposal, which I know about only from this short item. Do you know more than what is stated here?

And I'm not sure what you're basing your notion that I'm a "dilettante" on. Are you veteran homeless? I won't pretend I know for sure one way or the other. I can tell you I have covered the homelessness issue as a journalist, so while I'm no expert, I'm also not *totally* ignorant.

Showers are one thing they need. They can feel better about themselves that day -- which might be the day they're meeting with some civilian who might have a job or a room for them. Or maybe they can hang out at the library looking for jobs, or help, or whatever, and not get tossed out because they reek. There are very few zero-sum problems or solutions. This might solve one very big problem for them, and maybe help them solve some of the others, too. 

Your argument is like opposing emergency food aid to starving people in various poverty-stricken areas of the world because you think every bit of effort should go toward ending conflicts and solving the other, bigger problems that are causing the starvation.

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