Doniece Sandoval, a 51 year old Marketing Director in San Francisco, made a big move to provide a much needed service to the local area homeless population. Her idea came as a shock, but it sure does address a common issue most homeless people face daily. Where do they shower?
"Homelessness is something you can't really miss in San Francisco," Doniece Sandoval in report to ABC NEWS
In the year 2013 San Francisco was allegedly home to 6,500 homeless people making it on of our nation’s leading cities for homelessness. Although San Francisco does offer shower stalls in the city, there are only approximately 16-20 available which gave Doniece the idea to start Lava Mae. It gave her the opportunity to do something important that would make a difference in her community. Doniece is especially sensitive to the homeless population as she herself knows a few homeless people firsthand. A couple of who were once her neighbors. Doniece stated that gentrification in her area made rentals unaffordable and sadly pushed people out of their homes.
"His name was Mr. Earl and he was a Vietnam vet - a lovely man. At the time I would walk my daughter and he'd stop and chat with us. About two years ago he was evicted and ended up on the street. The last time we saw him was about six months ago. He was just in really bad shape," she said. "We just realized that this shouldn't be happening. These are human beings."
Lava Mae will be the new shower on wheels spotted around throughout San Francisco providing a place for homeless people to shower. Lava Mae will use old buses that will be converted into useful mobile showering units. Doniece received her first bus donation from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and they have committed to donating 3 more buses in the near future if Lava Mae takes off as is expected.
"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”
Doniece Sandoval is an outstanding example of someone who takes initiative in their own community to bring about needed changes that improve the community and helps those in it. People like Doniece are needed in communities all over our nation, and she is why it is important to be proactive and do what you can in your own community. Encourage the future Doniece Sandovals of the world and share her story!