This Woman Wants to Give a Hot Shower to the Homeless

Ellen's Good News

San Francisco has one of the highest homeless populations in the US, with 3,400 people living on the streets. One woman is doing all that she can to help give those people some dignity - and a hot shower.

Doniece Sandoval, 51, left her former job as a marketing executive to start a non-profit company that gives people living on the street a chance to get clean. Lava Mae is a "shower-on-wheels" that provides free bathroom facilities and toiletries to those who most need them. The Lava Mae team believes that showers and bathrooms shouldn't be a luxury, even for the homeless.

Right now, there are only 16 shower stalls available in San Francisco, and they're only open during limited hours on certain days of the week.

"One day I passed a woman in the street and she was very dirty, and basically crying, and I heard her say that she would never be clean. There's obviously a lot of layers to that, but I was wondering what her opportunities were to actually get clean," Sandoval said.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency donated one decommissioned mini city bus so far, and will provide more if the project takes off. The first bus is expected to hit the streets in March 2014, and will hopefully have a big enough impact in the city for more buses to be contributed.

The project is entirely run on donations, and is currently $80,000 short of its $365,000 annual budget. If you'd like to donate, visit Lava Mae's website.


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