Lava Mae, the San Francisco startup that has converted a Muni bus into showers for the homeless, is ready to roll out their first mobile washroom in the Mission starting on June 28th. After a missed launch date back in May, the bus-turned-bathroom will start drawing water from a hydrant on Capp Street every Saturday as part as the organization's pilot program.
For the first phase, Lava Mae's shower bus will work with the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center and will be parked on Capp Street between 16th and 17th Street from 7 a.m. until noon. The converted bus currently has two private "hygiene pods" (read: bathrooms) that include a shower, sink, toilet and a changing room. To keep things moving, users must sign up ahead of time to schedule their timed, 10-minute showers.
On July 22nd, the rolling washroom will expand its service to Tuesdays and Fridays at Mother Brown's in the Bayview and Youth With A Mission in Tenderloin, respectively. On the off days, the bus is parked on Treasure Island.
Although Lava Mae currently only has the one rolling washroom, founder Executive Director Doniece Sandoval tells the Examiner that Muni has donated three more buses to be converted for a wider rollout in Spring 2015, assuming funding can be secured.
The project was selected as a finalist in Google's $5 million Bay Area Impact Program and is also supported by city agencies like the SFMTA, the San Francisco Department of Public Health. A few corporate sponsors have also signed on including no-brainers like Kohler and Dr. Bronner's, among others.