Giving homeless people something most of us take for granted

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“Welcome to the land of broken dreams”

Just a few years ago, there were only 16 public showers available for 7,500-12,000 homeless people across the city of San Francisco. This left most of them with no place to shower, use the restroom, or a place to get privacy. A hot shower means a fresh, clean, and renewed start. Cleanliness can be the difference between a spot in a shelter or sleeping on the streets, a job or no job, a place to eat or going without food.

Doniece Sandoval was determined to come up with a solution that would treat the homeless with respect and dignity – and now her approach is spreading worldwide.

Inspired by the explosion of mobile food trucks, Doniece founded Lava Mae to provide mobile shower and restroom units that can travel the city and serve the homeless population where they are. Since its founding, Lava Mae has provided more than 58,000 showers to more than 15,000 guests, helping homeless people restore their hygiene and reclaim their dignity.

Learn about more social entrepreneurs working to eradicate poverty in our original series Catalysts.

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