Hun droom

For Lava Mae, a warm, private shower is very important and that’s what it provides. They aim to provide homeless people with a place where they can take a bath without any disturbance or prejudice.

Het probleem

In America, almost 600,000 homeless people don’t have a place where they can take a bath. A non-profit organization, however, is providing a bathroom in wheels to the homeless people of San Francisco. Only 16 stalls are available in the city. For the almost 3,5000 homeless people in the city, this is not enough. In Spanish, Lava Mae means wash me and true to its name, it’s driving bathrooms to those who need it. The group retrofits decommissioned city buses with lavish bathrooms and drives them to neighborhoods such as the Tenderloin, the Castro and the Mission. They are currently offering 200 showers every week.


De oplossing

Every bus provided by Lava Mae has 2 private bathrooms and one of which can be accessed by wheelchairs. It also has a sink, toilet and basic shower. The hygiene pods are equipped with digital controls for water, soft lighting as well as fixtures given by Kohler, skylights and hair dryers. The buses can be found near the agencies already serving the homeless people. Retrofitting every bus with bathrooms and installing necessary fixtures cost $75,000.

Lava Mae was funded through the own donations of the owner and her husband as well as a traditional fundraising campaign. During the campaign, the founder also challenged herself to try not showering for one week. According to her, the experience allowed her to understand how demoralizing and difficult it is to be dirty. Lava Mae also has obtained grants via programs such as Google’s Impact Challenge and the Innovation Award given by Bank of the West.


Lava Mae started transforming public transportation buses to toilets and shows to renew self-respect and deliver hygiene for homeless people in San Francisco in 2013. They are taking this hospitality to the streets by bringing collaboration, humanity and innovation to those who are in need of it. The group has served over 4,000 people who have taken more than 20,000 showers on their mobile bathrooms, significantly improving awareness about the lack of basic hygiene and access to showers for homeless individuals. Lava Mae also paved way for new mobile hygiene programs across the United States and abroad to be launched. They are now improving their impact on a global scale by making it easier to mimic their mobile hygiene services as well as other programs in towns everywhere.



Zo’n mooi initiatief waar anderen geholpen worden en hier heel dankbaar voor zijn. Ook andere bedrijven oordeelden zo wat er voor gezorgd heeft dat ze veel investeringen binnen gekregen om het concept uit te werken en op te kunnen schalen.