The retrofitted municipal bus includes two private showers — and music. Soap, shampoo, toilets and towels are free.
Reviews were good.
“Being inside there is kind of a trip because it’s pretty high-tech and kind of ingenious,” Ralph Brown, a 55-year-old military veteran, told the Associated Press. “Basically I just feel a lot better.”
“If you’re homeless, you’re living on the streets and you’re filthy, you’re trying to improve your circumstances, but you can’t interview for a job, you can’t apply for housing and you get disconnected from your sense of humanity,” Doniece Sandoval, Lava Mae’s founder, told the AP. “So a shower just in of itself is amazing for people.”
The shower bus project was also met with almost universal praise on social media. How could it not? San Francisco has more than 6,000 homeless people — don’t they have a right to be clean?
But what about actual houses for the homeless? The kind that come with showers? Google chief executive Larry Page has deflected questions about Google’s role in San Francisco’s housing crisis in the past. “This kind of thing is really a governance problem, because we’re building lots of jobs, lots of office buildings and no housing,” Page
. “So, it’s not surprising that caused a lot of issues. You also have a lot of people who are rent controlled, so they don’t participate in the economic increase in housing prices. It actually hurts them. It doesn’t help them. I think those problems are more structural and very serious problems.” Meanwhile, praise for the shower buses was not universal:
“Shower bus” reinforces social stigma against homeless folks by labeling folks as ‘dirty’. They may be. But a public shaming campaign? NO.
— Miss Park (@blk_bk) July 6, 2014
Google and Lava Mae were not immediately available for comment.
Clarification: The headline in the original version of called it a Google bus, rather than a Google-funded bus.