Finally, after months of planning and permitting hurdles, mobile shower provider Lava Mae will be bringing its services to the Panhandle area. On Saturday, January 30th, from 10am-3pm, you'll see the signature blue bus in front of the DMV at Baker and Fell.
Saturday's stop will be a pilot, with additional, weekly Saturday services to follow pending new hiring and the success of this week's stop, according to Lava Mae community engagement director Leah Filler.
Filler said Lava Mae was "aiming for weekly service" in the Haight "by mid-February."
Lava Mae offers traveling sanitation and hygiene services for the homeless in the form of converted city buses. Last year, it transitioned from its pilot program to a permanent program with expansion plans, including a new Castro stop.
As early as last spring, Lava Mae began going through permitting and applications to bring showers to the Upper Haight, one of the city's highest-demand and lowest-supply locations for homeless hygiene services.
Filler told us during the permitting and application process that the Upper Haight's bus stop faced special hurdles, which accounted for the delay in opening. Lava Mae took time not just for community outreach, city permitting, and garnering support from neighborhood organizations, but also for "building up the right partnerships."
"One challenge," she said, "is that there are not too many brick-and-mortar service providers in that area, and we like to partner with other services."
The partner they ended up working with to bring showers to the Haight is homeless outreach organization Taking It To The Streets. Other potential candidates had included the Homeless Youth Alliance, she said.
Filler said that Lava Mae was looking forward to the partnership. Taking It To The Streets "will be supporting us with volunteers and outreach at this point—kids in their program will be helping us run the shower service, taking on our volunteer duties which include intake, sign-ups, cleaning, time monitoring, etc. They will also help disseminate flyers and round up folks in the neighborhood for showers."
"Hopefully we'll be out weekly within a couple weeks," Filler said.
If you'd like to volunteer or otherwise get involved, find more information here.