CALIFORNIA—Lava Mae, a San Francisco based non-profit, has been expanding their services to Los Angeles County. They started in San Francisco by transforming old city buses into mobile hygiene units, providing showers and bathrooms.
Canyon News spoke to Los Angeles Director Paul Asplund about the mobile hygiene units.
“By the time we launched in Los Angeles in November 2016, we had determined that custom built shower trailers towed by a pick-up truck were much more reliable and versatile solution to covering the vast areas of LA County,” said Asplund.
Since their official launch in 2014, Lava Mae has provided over 51,000 showers to nearly 13,000 Californians Asplund indicated. The key to their success is the principle of ‘Radical Hospitality.’
“Radical Hospitality is based in the idea that how you give a service is as important than the service itself. By treating our guests with an unexpected level of care, we make dignity an essential part of our guests’ experience,” said Asplund.
Beginning August 1, Lava Mae will be conducting a series of orientation and training events to engage other communities, faith based groups, entrepreneurs and individuals to create shower services of their own.
Through these event, Lava Mae hopes to build a “sisterhood of radical hospitality,” providing community based solutions to issues around unhoused neighbors across Southern California and around the world.
“To date, over 70 organizations around the world attribute Lava Mae with inspiring them to take action. We have an audacious goal to magnify and build on that impact to provide one million showers around the world by 2020,” said Asplund.
Their toolkit on how to replicate their services is available at: http://buildit.lavamae.org/.