The less desirable side of San Francisco

All major cities have their problems and San Francisco is no exception.

I witnessed a fairly ugly altercation in a Walgreen’s store yesterday. A ‘homeless’ guy was accusing a cashier of stealing his ‘stuff’ and demanding she return it. I suspect he was a tad under the influence. His clothes suggested his protestation about his status may have been misplaced! His black carrier bag of ‘stuff’ only adding to his real status.


In fact, one of the things I have noticed about San Francisco is the number of people on the streets at night. Sleeping in doorways or anywhere they can find shelter. We have been approached numerous times for spare cash. One district alone has 6,000 people sleeping on the streets each night.

A few days ago I noticed a bus driving by – and looked it up. It’s called the Lava Mae Bus and has been partly funded by Google. It is the brainchild of a public relations executive – Doniece Sandoval. She had passed a woman in her neighbourhood who was crying because she had not been able to clean herself for days.

Sandoval managed to garner support to retrofit a decommissioned bus with two showers and two toilets. Since the city is planning to transition to bio-diesel hybrid vehicles, the SFMTA donated a decommissioned bus for the project. In the 2014 Google Impact Challenge, Lava Mae received $100,000 to begin funding the project.

Everyone gets 10 minutes – to get clean.

They have raised enough money to buy the second bus – and hope to have four in a years time.

Sometimes we take for granted the basics of our lives – washing being one. A project to be applauded?

By Tim GARRATT Posted in Business, Travel Tagged homeless, Lava Mae, San Francisco, shaowering

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